Bonds celebrates birthday with a blast

Posted: Friday, July 25, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO Barry Bonds threw himself quite a birthday bash.

Bonds led off the bottom of the ninth inning with his 646th career homer only moments after making a spectacular, run-saving throw to give the San Francisco Giants their eighth straight win, 3-2 over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

Playing on his 39th birthday, the star left fielder threw out Craig Counsell at the plate in the top of the ninth, sending fans at Pacific Bell Park into a frenzy.

Then, it got even more crazy. Bonds followed with his major league-leading 33rd homer, giving him a San Francisco record 470 to pass Willie McCovey (469).

The crowd of 42,666 remained standing for several minutes, chanting ''Barry! Barry!'' and Bonds stepped out of the dugout and waved.

It was Bonds' seventh career game-ending homer, but he didn't stick around to celebrate. He rushed off to a hospital to visit his father, Bobby, who has lung cancer.

Brown, who lost his previous four starts, allowed three singles and lowered his ERA to a major league-leading 2.12. But Colorado All-Star Shawn Chacon was just as tough for seven innings.

The Dodgers finally broke through in the 11th against Javier Lopez (2-1). Alex Cora led off with a single and was bunted to second by Jolbert Cabrera. Green drove Cora in with a liner to center.

Placido Polanco drove in four runs with four hits and Todd Pratt homered for the Phillies.

Sammy Sosa hit his 520th career home run and Hee Seop Choi also connected for the Cubs in their third straight loss.

Kerry Wood (10-7) had been cruising along, giving up just one run and two hits and striking out nine through five innings. Then it turned into his worst outing of the year.

Wood faced seven batters in the sixth and they all scored.

Abreu became the first Phillies player with five RBIs in an inning since Von Hayes on June 11, 1985.

The Pirates have gone 4-1 in the last five days while trading away their top two relievers and two regulars in three separate deals.

Stairs hit a ninth-inning homer Wednesday night as the Pirates won the opener of the two-game series, and had a pair of run-scoring doubles to complete a sweep of fast-fading Cincinnati.

The Pirates opened Great American with a three-game sweep from March 31-April 3. They're 5-0 at the ballpark, the first time they've won five consecutive games in Cincinnati since 1991.

The Reds have played themselves out of contention since the All-Star break, going 1-7 on a homestand to fall a season-high 13 games under .500.

The Braves, winners of 15 of their last 18, improved the best record in the majors to 67-34. The Marlins had a three-game winning streak end.

Ortiz (14-4) went six innings. The right-hander allowed two runs, seven hits, walked two and struck out five.

The seven straight wins matched Ortiz's career-high set in 2000 when he was with the San Francisco Giants.

John Smoltz pitched the ninth for his 37th save in 39 chances.

Ginter batted for Brewers starter Ben Sheets to lead off the inning. He connected against Ron Villone (2-1) for his seventh homer of the season.

Sheets (9-7) allowed one earned run on five hits in seven innings as Milwaukee won for the sixth time in seven games.

Leo Estrella pitched the ninth for his third save in four opportunities.

Hernandez (10-6) improved to 4-0 in five July starts, becoming the first Montreal pitcher to reach double digits in wins.

Vladimir Guerrero, who returned from a herniated disk Monday, went 2-for-3 with a walk, including a two-run single off Tom Glavine (6-11) in the first.

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