|San Francisco Giants Face Florida Marlins As Bonds Goes For HR Mark|
|Saturday, 28 July 2007 12:30|
Bonds Goes For 755
San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds is right on the cusp of history.
He'll be trying to match Hank Aaron's all-time home run record Saturday night when the Giants continue their three-game home series against Dontrelle Willis and the Florida Marlins.
Bonds connected for his 754th homer in the first inning of Friday's 12-10 series-opening win, moving to within one of Aaron's career record. Bonds, who walked in his next four at-bats, had gone homerless in five games and 18 at-bats since hitting two against the Chicago Cubs on July 19 at Wrigley Field.
"Tonight was a great night," Bonds said. "The ball was just carrying."
The homer was his first in San Francisco since he connected for No. 750 on June 29 against Arizona's Livan Hernandez. Bonds has hit a number of historic homers in front of his home fans, including Nos. 500, 600 and 700, 660 and 661 to tie and pass his godfather, Hall of Famer Willie Mays, and 715 last May to pass Babe Ruth for second place on the career list.
"He knew he got it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of No. 754. "After that he didn't get many pitches to hit."
On Saturday, Bonds will be squaring off against Florida starter Dontrelle Willis (7-10, 5.15 ERA), an Oakland native who considers the 43-year-old slugger a friend.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made San Francisco -122 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on Florida +111 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
"I'm a big fan of him," Willis said. "He's given me a lot of advice about the game. He's a great athlete. I always like the way he's played. I was lucky to see a bunch of games at Candlestick when he first came here. He's doing the same thing he was doing then. He made me want to get to the big leagues."
Bonds is 1-for-3 with a single, four walks and a strikeout all-time against Willis, but the two have not faced each other since Aug. 25, 2004.
"I've thrown fastballs to him," Willis said. "You also don't want to tell him what your plan of attack is. I'm just going out there and have fun. And whatever happens happens. I just hope my family isn't here to see me give up a homer to him."
Willis has lost a career-worst seven straight decisions since a 9-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 29. He has earned a 5.61 ERA in 10 starts since then, including Monday's 4-3 loss in Arizona in which he allowed four runs in 6 2-3 innings.
Willis had been trying to fine tune his mechanics, but said he stopped tinkering before his latest start.
"To be honest I just said forget it," he said. "I just toed the rubber and had a different mind-set today: Let the chips fall where they may. And today the game was fun. Mentally, I was having fun out there."
Willis, who lost six straight decisions last season, has allowed at least four runs in each of his last four starts. He is 1-3 with a 5.91 ERA in six career starts against the Giants, but the lone win came in his most recent outing against them on June 7 last season, a complete-game, 8-1 victory in San Francisco.
The Giants (44-57), who have won three straight, matched a season high Friday with four home runs, including Ray Durham's tiebreaking two-run shot that gave them a 9-7 lead. They haven't won four straight since May 20-23.
The Marlins (48-56), meanwhile, have dropped five in a row, one shy of their longest losing streak of the season. Cody Ross and Hanley Ramirez homered, as Florida matched its scoring total from its previous four defeats.
The Marlins will look to end their slide against San Francisco starter Matt Cain (3-12, 4.02) , who is 0-3 with an 8.10 ERA since the All-Star break. He lasted just 4 1-3 innings on Monday, allowing four runs in a 4-2 loss to Atlanta.
Cain is making his first-ever appearance against the Marlins.
by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us
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