Bonds' 2 homers can't carry Giants

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor

(08-30) 04:00 PDT Atlanta -- This is Hank Aaron's town, and locals don't appreciate when an outsider threatens his standing in the record book.
Particularly if the outsider is Barry Bonds, who got a good razzing Tuesday night when introduced at the Giants' first game of the season at Turner Field. It wasn't over-the-top razzing, mostly because the crowd was relatively small, but the message clearly was sent.
Bonds returned the message. Three times.
On a muggy night in which baseballs flew to the deepest regions of the ballpark, Bonds had a personal stake in three that cleared the outfield wall. He hit two over and brought one back.
It wasn't nearly enough for the Giants, who lost 13-8 in a game that became a little less one-sided when they scored three runs in the ninth. Jason Schmidt lasted 31/3 innings for his shortest outing of the year, and the defense committed four errors that led to six unearned runs -- no way for a team supposedly thick in a playoff chase to open a nine-game trip.
Before the game, manager Felipe Alou suggested Bonds' current hot spell could make a difference in the Giants' postseason hopes, saying, "Barry's the key. If Barry plays the way he's been playing, we'll be there."
Bonds couldn't do much more than he did. He hit two homers in a game for the first time in exactly two years -- the last time was Aug. 29, 2004, when Bonds twice went deep against Russ Ortiz, also in Atlanta -- and he leaped above the left-field wall to rob Jeff Francoeur of a three-run homer.
But the momentum was lost on Schmidt and the defense. Schmidt escaped a second inning in which he walked the bases full, but he wasn't as fortunate in the third, when the Braves scored four unearned runs in a rally that started when third baseman Pedro Feliz dropped Edgar Renteria's grounder.
Right fielder Moises Alou, in his first start since Aug. 20, also made an error in the inning when he mishandled Andy LaRoche's single and had to race back to the outfield wall to retrieve the ball.
Other unearned runs came in the seventh and eighth, thanks to an error by shortstop Tomas De La Rosa -- a late-game replacement for Omar Vizquel -- and another by Feliz. Feliz dropped Chipper Jones' liner, and Andruw Jones followed with his second homer of the game. Chipper Jones also homered, his third in three games.
Bonds, who left for a pinch-hitter in the eighth, didn't make himself available to the media. He walked out of the clubhouse, in street clothes, immediately after the game and said, "I don't do interviews in the hallway."
Schmidt seemed furious that he had a bad game, especially when Bonds' performance was so stellar. He called his outing "horrendous," his stuff "garbage."
"He had a heck of a night," Schmidt said of Bonds. "When he does something like that, from a pitching standpoint, you've got to take advantage of the opportunity he gives you."
Both of Bonds' homers were off Tim Hudson, the first coming in the first inning after Shea Hillenbrand's homer. Bonds crossed the plate, walked to a 7-year-old boy in the front row and gave him his batting gloves. Before the at-bat, the kid asked Bonds to touch his bat for good luck.
The second homer was a two-run shot in the sixth, giving Bonds his first multiple-homer game of the season and 69th of his career, breaking a tie with Sammy Sosa and trailing Babe Ruth, the all-time leader, by three. Bonds has 19 homers this season and, with 727 in his career, is 28 shy of Aaron's major-league record. Aaron's National League mark is 733.
The big night came one day after Bonds' personal weight trainer, Greg Anderson, returned to prison for a third time in a year. Anderson refused to answer questions in a grand jury about whether he gave Bonds steroids. "(Bonds has) got a lot of stuff going on right now. It amazes me how he keeps his composure and stays focused," Hillenbrand said. "The talent he has is unbelievable. He's definitely still one of the best players in the game. It's a good time for him to be hot."