|San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds' quest for 756 home runs will have to wait another day|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 06 August 2007 19:13|
No. 756 had to wait for at least another day.
Back home two days after matching the Hammer's mark, Bonds was held in check by a 22-year-old rookie making just his third major league appearance.
Bonds went 0-for-3 with a walk and came out of the game against Washington after seven innings.
The game between the Nationals and San Francisco Giants was tied at 1 after nine innings.
Bonds' Hall of Fame godfather, Willie Mays, was in the house. So was his oldest daughter after she returned from a trip to Sweden. And so was his 8-year-old daughter, Aisha, who had ``Pitch 2 Dad!'' written in black marker on her right cheek.
Not to mention 43,000 others who dearly wanted to witness history.
But Bonds never came close. He walked down the dugout steps and disappeared with his batboy son, 17-year-old Nikolai, by his side after striking out against John Lannan in his final try.
So sit tight, San Francisco.
Bonds gets to try again come Tuesday night against Mike Bacsik. Bonds is 0-for-2 with a walk against the left-hander, who certainly will be looking to follow the success of fellow lefty John Lannan - who avoided becoming the 446th different pitcher to surrender one of Bonds' home runs.
The kid looked nervous for sure, but showed little fear. Lannan didn't back down, even when the crowd booed him for stepping off the mound to adjust his sleeve before Bonds' initial at-bat or when he fell behind in the count in his final two confrontations.
Lannan went to 2-0 against Bonds in both the fifth and seventh innings, but rebounded to get Bonds out.
With one on and none out in the fifth after Randy Winn's leadoff single, Bonds drew two balls before grounding into a rare 6-5-3 double play against a shifted infield. Then in the seventh, Bonds struck out swinging.
He fouled out to third in the first on a nice running play by Ryan Zimmerman, then walked on five pitches in the third on a cool summer evening in the Bay Area. The first-pitch temperature was 60 degrees in the Giants' waterfront ballpark.
Camera flashes lit up the stadium from the moment Bonds emerged and headed for the on-deck circle in the first inning. Bonds received a loud standing ovation during pregame introductions.
Bonds hit 755 on Saturday night at San Diego and received a warm reception afterward along with some boos.
People packed the outside ``knothole'' viewing area below the right-field arcade, a free spot for fans to watch that requires them to switch out every three innings.
Just beyond them in McCovey Cove, kayaks waited in hopes of a souvenir splash hit from Bonds.
Bonds stepped in with runners on the corners and one out in the first, and fans jumped to their feet - including his two daughters and wife, Liz.
The 76-year-old Mays watched from inside the clubhouse - with plans to come outside if Bonds homered. They spoke before the game in the office of longtime equipment manager Mike Murphy with the door closed.
Bud Selig was not in attendance. The commissioner, who watched No. 755 in San Diego with his hands in his pockets and no emotion on his face, returned home to Milwaukee on Sunday.
He planned to miss the Giants' first two games of the four-game set with Washington, sending Major League baseball executive vice president Jimmie Lee Solomon and Hall of Famer Frank Robinson in his place.
Aaron also was not at the park. He said long ago that he did not plan to follow the chase in person.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before the game he expected Bonds to have some jitters, but probably not anything close to how Lannan must have felt facing Bonds on the cusp of history.
``He's going to be not only amped up but probably a little nervous,'' Bochy said of Bonds.
Banners that will pay tribute to his achievement are waiting be unfurled from the light posts on each side of the main scoreboard. The home run tracker in right-center field that began when Bonds was about 150 home runs away from Aaron's record now shows the tie between the two great sluggers.
Just before game time, Bonds watched a replay of his 755th homer with the fans on their feet to see it and cheer him for the first time since he came home.
A message was shown on the video screen from the son of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, who sat by his side.
``We want to congratulate you on hitting 755 home runs, it's been a great milestone,'' Asaad Ali said. ``We've both been great fans of yours throughout your career. We just want to wish you good luck on your road to history. Don't stop.''
Bonds raised a baseball in his left hand and tipped it in the direction of the main center-field scoreboard after hearing it. Previously, Bonds heard from Michael Jordan, Joe Montana and Wayne Gretzky.
Notes: About 450 daily credentials were issued for Monday night's game, up 100 from the last homestand. ... Giants SS Omar Vizquel was asked by baseball disciplinarian Bob Watson, through manager Bruce Bochy, to quit using a video camera in the dugout as he did last week. ... A man sitting not far from the Giants' dugout was hit with the flying bat belonging to Bengie Molina when it came out of his hands on a popup in the third. After receiving treatment, he left with a sling over his arm.