Bonds rips 60th tater

Giants defeat Arizona to tighten NL West race

Posted: Friday, September 07, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds doesn't think he's going to have too many more chances to hit home runs. The pennant race is just too tight.

Bonds hit his 60th home run, becoming just the fifth player to reach the milestone, and the San Francisco Giants narrowed the gap in the NL West with a 9-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

''Right now every pitch, every at-bat, every inning is crucial,'' he said. ''The good news is, we're close enough. Wish there were more games, but we got to do it on our own and not go into a serious slump.''

Arizona's lead in the NL West was squeezed to 1 1/2 games as the Giants took two of three games in the final series of the season between the teams. The Giants also moved into a tie with idle Chicago for the NL wild-card race.

So from here on out, Bonds expects he won't see that many hittable pitches.

''This is a pennant race now,'' Bonds said. ''There's not going to be that many chances now.''

Bonds joined Babe Ruth (60 in 1927), Roger Maris (61 in 1961), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998; 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998; 63 in 1999) in the 60-homer club.

Bonds homered off Albie Lopez (3-5) in the second inning, with the sellout Pacific Bell Park crowd roaring as the solo shot cleared the right-field wall.

Bonds hit his 60th in the Giants' 141st game, reaching the mark faster than the other four sluggers. McGwire, the previous fastest to 60, needed 142 games in 1998, the year he set the record with 70.

''At first I thought, 'Hey, it's just one more run.' But then I thought about it being No. 60,'' Giants manager Dusty Baker said. ''I'm extremely happy for him and I hope he keeps rolling.''

The Giants, who have won four of their last six games, also got a solo home run and a two-run single from Rich Aurilia, as well as two-run singles from John Vander Wal and Ramon Martinez.

Aaron Fultz (3-1), who relieved starter Ryan Jensen, allowed a hit and struck out three in 1 2-3 innings for the victory.

The Diamondbacks took a 2-0 lead in the first on Reggie Sanders' RBI triple and Steve Finley's single.

The Giants came right back in the bottom half. With one out, Aurilia singled to left and Bonds walked. An out later, Andres Galarraga singled to load the bases, and Vander Wal singled to left to tie it.

Benito Santiago walked to reload the bases, and Martinez singled to drive in two more runs and draw a standing ovation.

It was nothing compared to the clamor when Bonds hit his 60th in the next inning. Bonds high-fived Jeff Kent after rounding the bases then was called out of the dugout for a curtain call to shouts of ''Barry! Barry!'' from the 41,155 fans.

Bonds now has 554 career homers, nine behind Reggie Jackson for seventh place on the career list.

Phillies 3, Expos 0

MONTREAL -- Robert Person and a pair of relievers combined on a four-hitter as the Philadelphia Phillies stopped their four-game losing streak, beating the Montreal Expos.

Bobby Abreu hit a two-run homer as the Phillies pulled within 2 1/2 games of idle Atlanta in the NL East.

Person (14-7) gave up three hits in 7 1-3 innings to win his fifth straight decision. He struck out five and walked three.

Ricky Bottalico relieved Person after a one-out walk to Brad Wilkerson in the eighth.

Jose Mesa pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 39 chances.

The game drew only 3,406 fans, the second-lowest total ever at Olympic Stadium. The smallest crowd was 2,803 for a game against St. Louis on Sept. 27, 1984.

Brewers 4, Astros 3

HOUSTON -- Mark Loretta singled home the go-ahead run off Billy Wagner in the 10th inning, rallying the Milwaukee Brewers over the Houston Astros.

The loss dropped Houston's NL Central lead to 4 1/2 games over idle Chicago. The Astros have won eight of their last 11 games and have a 24-10 record since Aug. 1.

Lou Collier, who homered in the first inning, doubled with two out off Wagner (2-5). Loretta then lined a single to left field.

Mets 5, Marlins 2

MIAMI -- Kevin Appier scattered nine hits and had an RBI single as the surging New York Mets beat the Florida Marlins for their fourth straight victory.

Appier (8-10) allowed two runs in 6 1-3 innings to pull the Mets within seven games of the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves. He struck out four and walked one.

Armando Benitez got four outs for his 37th save in 39 opportunities as New York won for the 15th time in 19 games.

Reds 8, Pirates 6

PITTSBURGH -- Ken Griffey Jr. hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the seventh inning and the Cincinnati Reds overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Cincinnati kept the Pirates from winning their fourth consecutive game, which would have matched their season-best streak.

Rich Loiselle (0-1), making his first major league appearance since July 21, gave up an infield single to Todd Walker to open the seventh.

Dodgers 9, Rockies 5

DENVER -- Shawn Green tied the Dodgers' franchise record with his 43rd home run and Los Angeles tightened the NL races with a victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Gary Sheffield homered and drove in three runs, and Mark Grudzielanek and Phil Hiatt also connected for Los Angeles.

The Dodgers pulled within two games of Arizona for the NL West lead. They also climbed within a half-game of San Francisco and Chicago for the wild card. Green shares the single-season team record for home runs with Sheffield (2000) and Duke Snider (1956).

Green went 2-for-3, driving in two runs and scoring twice. He set a career high for home runs, having hit 42 for Toronto in 1999.

Terry Adams (12-6) improved to 3-0 this season against the Rockies.

Mike Hampton (13-11) was tagged for six runs and eight hits in six innings.



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