|Bonds and Howard end home run droughts|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 27 May 2007 21:17|
Bonds broke out of a lengthy home run drought, hitting his 746th career homer in the sixth inning of a 6-4, 10-inning loss against Colorado to pull within nine of Hammerin' Hank's career mark of 755.
Unfortunately for the Giants, the loss completed a rare three-game sweep by the Rockies in San Francisco.
``I just feel like we lost. That's how I feel,'' Bonds said. ``I don't even talk about me or home runs anymore at all. If you want to talk about us and the team and us winning and losing, that's fine, but not about me anymore.''
Bonds hesitated and watched the 2-1 fastball from Taylor Buchholz sail over the center-field wall for his 12th homer of the year and first in 15 games since a shot off the Mets' Tom Glavine on May 8. The two-run drive pulled the Giants within 4-3.
Bonds rounded the bases as ``746'' flashed on the main scoreboard and he received a big hug from bat-boy son, Nikolai, after crossing home. Fans began chanting ``Barry! Barry!''
Moving within single digits of Aaron wasn't enough to get Bonds talking about the chase.
``There's nothing really to talk about at this point,'' he said. ``I'll let you all know, but this time is not the time. Even when we've won, I haven't talked about it. Everyone here knows it.''
While Bonds found his home run stroke, Ryan Howard finally is feeling healthy.
Howard, who came off the disabled list Friday, had three hits including a pair of two-run homers and the Philadelphia Phillies crushed the Atlanta Braves 13-6 on Sunday to complete their first sweep of the season.
In other NL games, it was: New York 6, Florida 4; Pittsburgh 14, Cincinnati 10; Washington 7, St. Louis 2; San Diego 3, Milwaukee 0; Arizona 8, Houston 4; and Los Angeles 2, Chicago 1 in 11 innings.
Howard and Greg Dobbs hit two-run homers in the first before the Phillies put the Braves away with seven runs in the fifth. Howard added another two-run homer in the eighth.
``Right now,'' he declared, ``I'm 100 percent.''
The three hits lifted Howard's batting average to .220 and boosted the Phillies' confidence that the reigning MVP can return to his 2006 form. Howard last hit a home run on May 9 at Arizona. That was the last time he played before Friday night.
``Anytime you get a couple of dingers and get a knock, I guess you're swinging the bat good,'' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
The sweep of the Braves put the Phillies (26-24) two games over .500 for the first time this season, but the showing by Howard may have been the team's most important development of the weekend.
``I think it's one of the best things for us,'' Phillies starter Cole Hamels said. ``He's been battling to find himself and put a lot of pressure on himself. Coming off the DL, he can put less pressure on himself and relax because he knows his body is all right.''
Mets 6, Marlins 4
At Miami, New York continued its mastery of left-handers with a four-run fourth against Florida starter Scott Olsen, carrying them to a three-game series sweep.
David Wright had two hits and an RBI for the Mets, who swept a three-game series at Florida for the first time since October 1993.
Mets starter Jorge Sosa (4-1) scattered five hits and two runs in 5 2-3 innings. Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 12th save and 30th straight dating back to last season.
Olsen (4-4) gave up five runs and six hits in five innings.
Pirates 14, Reds 10
At Cincinnati, Jason Bay capped Pittsburgh's five-run first inning with a three-run homer and Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati for the third straight game.
Freddy Sanchez drove in a season-high four runs and the Pirates set a season high for runs.
Kirk Saarloos (0-4) failed to retire any of the seven batters he faced for the Reds, who saw their season-high losing streak reach six games despite five home runs, two by Adam Dunn.
Pirates starter Zach Duke (2-5) allowed seven hits and five runs, three earned, in five innings for his first win since April 8.
Nationals 7, Cardinals 2
At St. Louis, Ronnie Belliard had four hits including a two-run homer for Washington, which took two of three for their first series win over St. Louis since 1999, when the franchise was in Montreal.
Albert Pujols had three hits for the Cardinals and is 22-for-45 (.477) during an 11-game hitting streak that has raised his average 63 points to .302. The Cardinals wasted a strong start from Adam Wainwright (4-4), who allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings.
Saul Rivera (1-1) allowed one run and two hits to pick up the win.
Padres 3, Brewers 0
At San Diego, Jake Peavy held Milwaukee to two hits in seven innings and hit an RBI double off Jeff Suppan and San Diego finished off a three-game sweep of the NL Central-leading Brewers.
Peavy (7-1) lowered his major league-leading ERA from 1.63 to 1.47 while striking out eight and walking one. Adrian Gonzalez added a solo homer for the Padres, who won for the 10th time in 13 games.
Suppan (6-5) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings for the Brewers, who were swept for the first time this season.
Diamondbacks 8, Astros 4
At Phoenix, Carlos Quentin hit a two-run home run and Arizona beat Roy Oswalt for the first time, handing the Astros their eighth straight loss.
The Astros have been outscored 66-16 during their longest losing streak in six years.
Livan Hernandez (5-2) allowed 11 hits in his 43rd complete game and first since Sept. 9, 2005, for the Washington Nationals against San Francisco.
Oswalt (6-4) allowed six runs, five earned, and 10 hits in seven-plus innings. He had been 6-0 in seven career starts against Arizona.
Dodgers 2, Cubs 1, 11 innings
At Los Angeles, Andre Ethier hit a game-tying home run in the eighth, and Juan Pierre got hit with the bases loaded in the 11th to force in the winning run for Los Angeles.
Angel Guzman (0-1), working his third inning of relief, opened the 11th with walks to Ramon Martinez and Wilson Betemit. Martinez advanced to third on a delayed steal before Carlos Marmol replaced Guzman with a 1-0 count on Rafael Furcal. Marmol walked Furcal intentionally to set up a force everywhere, but his 2-2 pitch bounced and hit Pierre in the left knee.
Chad Billingsley (3-0) pitched a perfect 11th inning for the win after two hitless innings by Jonathan Broxton.