Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Bonds' 735th homer can't save Giants

FAST START In addition to hitting his 735th homer in the first inning of the Giants' 5-3 loss to San Diego, Barry Bonds passed his godfather Willie Mays' 1,480-run record

AGENCIES , SAN FRANCISCO AND ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA

Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants walks to the outfield as his 735th homer is compared with the records held by two of his lofty predecessors at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday.

PHOTO: AFP

National League

Getting off to a quick start on his quest to become Major League Baseball's all-time home-run king, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds hit his first home run of the season on Wednesday.

Bonds drilled his 735th career home run over the left-center field wall in the first inning of a 5-3 home loss to the San Diego Padres.

The homer came in Bonds' second game of the season and moved the 42-year-old within 20 of tying Hank Aaron's record.

"It is not a countdown yet, it's not close enough, we are just trying to get ourselves going right now," Bonds told reporters after the Giants lost their second straight game.

Asked when it becomes a countdown. Bonds replied, "When it's about 750."

"And we better hope that it is not towards the end of September," he added.

To pass Aaron, the seven-time Most Valuable Player will need to hit more home runs than anyone who turned 43 during a season.

A near-capacity crowd of 39,938 greeted Bonds with big cheers every time he stepped up to the plate and he went 1-for-4 in the game, striking out once.

With the homer, he passed his godfather, Willie Mays, for the most runs scored in the Giants' San Francisco era. He now has 1,481.

Bonds also hustled to catch a flyball for the third out in the top of the first inning.

"It was a long run for someone my age," Bonds added.

The on-field drama takes place amid a continuing federal investigation into whether Bonds lied to an earlier grand jury when he said he never knowingly used steroids.

The grand jury meets every Thursday to deliberate over the veracity of Bonds' statements.

Nationals 7, Marlins 6

Dmitri Young hit a bases-loaded single with one out in the ninth to complete Washington's comeback from a five-run deficit, and the Nationals beat the Florida Marlins 7-6 in Washington on Wednesday.

Young hit an arching ball toward the left-field corner, and outfielder Josh Willingham let it drop in, hoping it would land foul. Robert Fick delivered an RBI single earlier in a three-run ninth off Jorge Julio (0-1).

Jon Rauch (1-0) struck out the only two batters he faced in the top half.

Miguel Cabrera, Mike Jacobs and Cody Ross homered as Florida built leads of 5-0 and 6-1, but Ryan Church hit a three-run homer off Anibal Sanchez in the sixth.

Rockies 11, Diamondbacks 4

At Denver, Rodrigo Lopez (1-0) gave up two runs -- one earned -- and six hits in seven innings for his first win since Aug. 17, and Matt Holliday backed him with four hits and four RBIs.

Last year, Lopez led the major leagues with 18 losses and dropped his final six decisions.

Doug Davis (0-1) made his Arizona debut and allowed three first-inning runs -- all unearned due to two errors by first baseman Conor Jackson. Davis lasted five innings, allowing eight hits and five walks with six strikeouts.

Mets 10, Cardinals 0

At St. Louis, John Maine (1-0) kept St. Louis' bats quiet and Carlos Beltran homered twice and drove in four runs, helping New York sweep the World Series champion.

Jose Reyes also homered and had three RBIs for the Mets, who were 8-1 to start last season en route to an NL-high 97 wins before they were eliminated by the Cardinals in the NLCS.

The season-opening series is for much lower stakes, of course, although the Mets were able to spoil a pair of World Series celebrations while outscoring the Cardinals 20-2.

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