History Awaits

Barry Bonds' first attempt to become baseball's all-time home-run hitter was stymied by a pitcher with just 10 innings of major league experience.

After failing to make history against rookie John Lannan, Bonds next will face Mike Bacsik for the first time in nearly five years in a bid for his 756th homer as the San Francisco Giants continue their four-game series with the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

The seven-time NL MVP last batted against Bacsik on Aug. 22, 2002 in San Francisco when the left-hander was with the New York Mets. Bonds was went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch, but also had an RBI in the Giants' 3-1 win.

"We're going to see something that's never been done," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Bonds quest. "It's intense. It's anticipation. Everybody's watching every pitch. You see the flashes going off. Only Barry knows what he's going through. I can only imagine."

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made San Francisco -148 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's 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 San Francisco -148 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Back at AT&T Park where he's hit several milestone shots, Bonds went 0-for-3 with a walk Monday night against Lannan before being replaced to start the eighth with the score tied at 1.

"I was just trying to keep my composure and follow the game plan," said Lannan, who was making just his third major league appearance. "I was just trying to keep the team in it and go out there and make my pitches."

Each team scored in the 10th before Randy Winn's fourth hit of the game plated Dave Roberts in the 11th to give San Francisco a 3-2 win. It was Winn's second four-hit game in his last seven, and he's hitting .344 (33-for-96) since the All-Star break.

Dmitri Young had a sacrifice fly and solo homer for Washington (51-61), which had its season-high six-game winning streak end.

Bonds has hit 12 of his 21 homers this season at AT&T Park, which has figured prominently in his climb toward the all-time home run record. In 2004, Bonds hit his 661st homer there to move past his godfather, Willie Mays, into third place. Last year, Bonds recorded his 715th longball in front of the home fans to leapfrog Babe Ruth into second place.

To surpass Hank Aaron, Bonds will have to solve Bacsik (5-6, 4.19 ERA), who's been undefeated since the All-Star break and looks to win his fourth straight start.

Facing Cincinnati on Thursday, the left-hander allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings en route to a 7-3 victory. In his last four starts, Bacsik is 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA and that's helped him lower his overall ERA by more than a run.

Bacsik was recalled from the minors in mid-May to replace the injured Jason Bergmann, and is grateful for the chance to pitch in the majors again.

"The opportunity I've been getting is awesome," he told the Nationals' official Web site. "It's a blessing. This is a good organization and I'm trying to take as much advantage of it as I can."

Bacsik is 3-3 with a 4.25 ERA in six road starts this year.

Coming off the first relief appearance of his seven-year career, Barry Zito (8-10, 5.08) will get the start for San Francisco (48-62) and try to record his first home win in 2 1/2 months.

Zito had made 244 career starts since 2000, but was pressed into service Sunday during a 5-4 loss at San Diego after Noah Lowry left with tightness in his forearm. Zito, who was expected to be the Giants' ace after signing a seven-year, $126 million contract, tossed 17 pitches during a perfect seventh inning.

He said the extra work shouldn't affect him.

"It's fun to help the team on a day when I didn't come to the yard thinking I would," Zito told the Giants' official Web site, recalling he made his last relief appearance in the Triple-A playoffs in 1999.

The left-hander picked up a win in his last start, limiting the Los Angeles Dodgers to a run and seven hits over 5 2-3 innings of a 4-2 victory on Thursday. Zito, though, has struggled at home for much of the season, going 0-1 with a 6.19 ERA in three starts since beating Houston there on May 23.

Overall, Zito is 3-3 with a 4.47 ERA in nine home starts this year. He gave up two runs and five hits over six innings in a 2-1 road loss to the Nationals on June 7, 2005 in his only start against them.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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