Brewers at Giants, Game #1

From the pre-game ceremonies on throughout a pleasant bayside afternoon, a buzz of anticipation crackled static through jam-packed SBC Park. One question loomed in the mind of each and every fan in attendance. Would today be the day for Barry Bonds, one home run shy of tying his legendary godfather Willie Mays on the all-time list, to become only the fourth man in history ever to pass 659?

The answer would have to wait.

The Milwaukee Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first against sophomore hurler Jerome Williams, who gave up an RBI single to Geoff Jenkins. In the bottom of the inning, the Giants evened the score on a run-scoring double from first baseman JT Snow. With Snow at second, one out, and first base open, Bonds received a four-pitch walk from Milwaukee starter Matt Kinney. Five-hitter A.J. Pierzynski then grounded into a double play to end the inning. Round one, Brewers.

The top of the third brought trouble for Williams, who gave up two singles and hit a batter. With the help of a Snow throwing error, Milwaukee scored twice to take a 3-1 lead over the Giants.

San Francisco took one back in the bottom of the inning. Ray Durham led off with a sharp single to right and moved over on a Marquis Grissom groundout. With two gone, Bonds approached home plate. "… Now?" wondered the capacity crowd. "Not quite," Milwaukee replied. Bonds swung at the first pitch and ripped it up the middle for an RBI single, scoring Durham from second to chip at the Brewers' lead. Round two: arguably, to Bonds.

Milwaukee struck again in the top of the fifth against Williams, who gave up a leadoff single to Scott Podsednik. With Craig Counsell at the plate, Podsednik stole second, improving to 4-4 on the young season. After Counsell flew out to Grissom, second baseman Junior Spivey drove Podsednik in with a hard-hit single to put the Brewers back up by two.

Williams led off the bottom of the inning by striking out, bringing up the top of the order. Durham reached base for the third consecutive time, walking on five pitches from Kinney. Snow followed with his second hit of the day, lining a single in front of the left fielder Jenkins. With one out, first and second both occupied, it was Grissom's turn to bat. With Bonds due up next, a murmur rose throughout the stands. "Bases loaded" was the whisper. "Grand slam," no one dared to say. However, thoughts of such grandeur were quieted when Grissom swung at a 2-2 pitch and popped it up to first baseman Lyle Overbay.

Bonds strode to the plate as the buzz of anxious expectation once again reached a climax, resonating through the nervous sellout crowd. Kinney cocked and threw, missing the strike zone. Twice more he missed, pushing the count to 3-0. Boos sounded all around the ballpark. Barry swung at the next pitch, fouling it off. Hope crept back into the hearts of the fans. 660? Then finally, the answer: a resounding yes, punctuated by a booming splash and the wild, giddy screams of 42,000+ euphoric fans who bore witness to the historic shot. Bonds swung at the 3-1, sending the ball high over the right field wall, over the hundreds standing in the arcade, over the portwalk, and over everything. The fans watched, hypnotized, as it sailed through the sky in a mesmerizing, majestic arc, finally landing in the San Francisco Bay.

Round three? Indisputably: Bonds. Barry Bonds.

Bonds' record-tying home run put the Giants ahead after five, and the lead, though slim, was one the bullpen did not intend to relinquish. Williams and a quartet of relievers combined to allow just one more run over the next four innings while the Giants offense went on to score twice more in the game. Emergency closer Matt Herges came on in the ninth and allowed two hits but no runs, inducing a game-ending double play to secure the win for Barry and his humbled San Francisco Giants.

SFDugout's Player of the Game: This one is an absolute no-brainer. Barry Bonds, always with a flair for the dramatic, hit his 660th career home run at a very opportune time for the Giants, putting them in front of Milwaukee both then and for good. He has now homered in four of five home openers at SBC. Overall, he went 3-3 with a walk, a double, a home run, and four RBI, adding a sparkling defensive play in the eighth.



Stephanie Moy is a diehard Giants fan, born and raised in the city by the bay. She welcomes comments, questions, criticism and praise at a_hole_in_the_bucket@hotmail.com.

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