50 dingers and counting

Bonds fastest to milestone; Sosa, McGwire also homer

Posted: Sunday, August 12, 2001

CHICAGO -- Barry Bonds hit his career-high 50th homer, reaching the mark faster than any player ever, and pitcher Livan Hernandez went 4-for-4 Saturday as the San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 9-4.

Sammy Sosa hit his 41st home run for the Cubs. He homered three times Thursday at Wrigley Field.

Bonds' three-run homer capped a six-run second inning. That was enough for Hernandez (11-11), who allowed seven hits over eight innings to win his fifth straight decision.

The last major league pitcher to have four hits in a game was Colorado's John Thomson on June 1, 1997, against Florida. Hernandez is the first pitcher to get four hits against the Cubs since Danny Jackson did it for the Reds on Sept. 4, 1988.

Still ahead of Mark McGwire's pace when he hit 70 in 1998, Bonds reached his 50th in the Giants' 117th game. Sosa was previously the fastest to 50, doing it in 121 games in 1999.

Bonds, who hit 49 homers last season, now has 544 for his career, four behind Mike Schmidt for eighth place.

Bonds' homer came off Joe Borowski (0-1), who was just called up from the minors and was making his first major league start after 57 relief appearances with three other big league clubs.

Hernandez allowed just two hits in the first six innings. He helped himself with three singles and a two-run homer and now has 12 hits in his last 13 at-bats.

Sosa spoiled the shutout bid with a solo homer in the seventh, and the Cubs added three unearned runs in the eighth on Todd Hundley's sacrifice fly and RBI singles by Michael Tucker and Sosa.

Cardinals 6, Mets 3

NEW YORK -- Mark McGwire moved past Harmon Killebrew into fifth place with his 574th career homer, leading the St. Louis Cardinals over the New York Mets.

McGwire's last 10 hits have all been homers, the longest such streak in at least the past 25 years, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. There is no research done before that.

McGwire, who didn't start the past three games because of a sore knee, hit a two-run shot off Glendon Rusch (6-7) in the fifth inning for his 20th homer of the season and first since Aug. 1.

Dustin Hermanson (10-9) allowed three runs in six innings, Mike Matheny hit a two-run homer and Placido Polanco extended his hitting streak to 20 games for St. Louis.

Dave Veres relieved with two on and none out in the ninth. He finished for his 12th save.

Phillies 7, Dodgers 3

PHILADELPHIA -- Travis Lee hit a grand slam and Robert Person pitched seven solid innings as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Scott Rolen had three hits, including a homer, and Johnny Estrada also homered for Philadelphia, which tied Atlanta for the NL East lead.

The Dodgers dropped a half-game behind Arizona in the NL West.

Lee homered in the first inning off Eric Gagne (4-5), and Person (10-6) made the lead stand up.

Diamondbacks 3, Braves 1

ATLANTA -- The Arizona Diamondbacks finally won a game without Curt Schilling or Randy Johnson, beating the Atlanta Braves when an infield grounder scored two runs.

Miguel Batista (7-7) went five innings, allowing five hits and an unearned run.

Arizona won for the first time since July 25 in a game started by someone other than Schilling (17-5) or Johnson (15-5). Both times, Batista was on the mound.

The Braves have lost four in a row and dropped into a tie with Philadelphia for the NL East lead.

Brewers 6, Expos 0

MONTREAL -- Mac Suzuki pitched seven scoreless innings, and Luis Lopez hit a three-run double to ignite Milwaukee's five-run fourth inning as the Brewers beat Montreal.

Richie Sexson hit his 29th homer in the fifth as Milwaukee clinched its first series win since winning two-of-three in San Francisco from July 6-8.

Suzuki (1-3) allowed just three hits for his first win since April 26, when he was with Kansas City.

Reds 7, Rockies 3

CINCINNATI -- Dmitri Young singled home the go-ahead run and Adam Dunn added a two-run double, rallying the Cincinnati past Colorado.

Aaron Boone and Jason LaRue hit solo homers, and Ken Griffey Jr. extended his hitting streak to 10 games as the Reds beat the Rockies at home for the first time this season.

Colorado swept a three-game series at Cinergy Field from June 15-17, and hasn't won three in a row since. The Rockies have lost 21 of their last 26 road games.

The Reds got only their 18th victory in 58 home games this season.

Padres 6, Pirates 2

PITTSBURGH -- Tony Gwynn hit his first home run in more than a year as San Diego beat Pittsburgh.

Gwynn, limited to pinch hitting because of a sore right knee, started for the first time since July 19. He connected off Joe Beimel (5-8) in a three-run sixth inning. Gwynn went 2-for-3 and has seven hits in his last 11 at-bats.

Gwynn's homer was his first since May 23, 2000, when he hit one off Al Leiter of the New York Mets. Gwynn had gone 136 at-bats without a home run, including 71 this season. He has 135 career home runs.

Marlins 13, Astros 5

MIAMI -- Preston Wilson, Mike Lowell and Kevin Millar drove in three runs apiece as Florida routed Houston.

The 13 runs were the most the Marlins have scored this season. They also finished with 18 hits.

Ryan Dempster won his third consecutive start despite giving up three home runs in six shaky innings.



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