Rewind: Giants at Braves, Game #3

After losing the first two games of the wraparound series with the Braves, then having to rely on two rookies to earn a split, one would think that Giants starter Brad Hennessey would be feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders for Sunday's contest in Atlanta.

It probably makes life easier to have someone named Barry Bonds help carry the burden of an almost apparent must-win game.

Bonds hit two majestic shots to help propel San Francisco (72-60) over Atlanta (75-54), 9-5, in Turner Field on Sunday evening. One of the many in attendance was Hank Aaron, who joined ESPN announcers Jon Miller and Joe Morgan in the broadcast booth.

"He has to be the greatest hitter that I've seen, or heard of," said Aaron. "I would have to put him past Babe Ruth."

In the top of the third inning, with two outs, and J.T. Snow on first base, Bonds stepped in to face former teammate Russ Ortiz (13-7). As Aaron looked on, Bonds crushed a 1-0 pitch to deep right-center field that gave the Giants an early 2-0 lead.

Michael Tucker, who took the day off, had a microphone in the dugout for ESPN and replays showed that he called the homerun by Bonds when he said: "If (Ortiz) throws a strike, this ball might go a long way, dude."

The ball indeed went a long way, traveling an estimated 467 feet. It was the second longest homerun in Turner Field history and delighted the home crowd of 24,631, who gave Bonds several standing ovations.

Bonds later hit another soaring line drive that landed in the bullpen to give the Giants a 5-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning. That homerun landed 462 feet and was deemed the third longest in the park’s history.

"Who cares where it goes," Bonds said. "As long as they go over the yellow line." The two homeruns raised Bonds' tally at 38 for the season and 696 for his illustrious career. He now has 68 multi-homer games for his career, trailing only Ruth (72) on the all-time list.

Hennessey lasted just four innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, before departing in the bottom of the fifth to Jason Christiansen (4-2). Christiansen inherited runners on first and second, but was able to minimize the damage to one run, before inducing a double-play ball off the bat of Johnny Estrada to end the threat at 5-3.

The Giants added three runs in the top of the sixth inning, thanks in part to more clutch hitting from Bonds, as they ran the score up to 8-3.

The Braves scratched their way to two runs in the bottom of the seventh to bring the game within reach at 8-5.

After another insurance run in the top of the eighth inning, San Francisco's bullpen managed to hold on to the lead the rest of the way, highlighted by Dustin Hermanson's seventh save in eight opportunities.

Now that Hennessey has helped win his share of the rookies' daunting tasks in Atlanta, the Giants will turn to Noah Lowry to try and get the split on Monday. It's just too bad Bonds, in all likelihood, will take the day off and won't be able lift some of the burden off Lowry like he did Sunday night in the presence of Hammerin' Hank.

Game Notes: Rookie Roman Colon ended Bonds hopes of getting his first-ever five-hit game by striking him out in the eighth inning... The Giants picked up a game on the Cubs who lost to the Astros on Sunday afternoon in Wrigley Field... Shawn Estes, who the Giants claimed off waivers from the Rockies, thinks a possible deal with his former team is "dead."

SFDugout's Player of the Game: No-brainer here; Barry Bonds, who went for 4-for-5 with six RBIs, furthering his campaign for the National League MVP.



Phil Delacruz was a transplanted Giants fan, buried in the Southland. After four strenuous years in College, studying (read: partying), he's back in the beautiful "City by the Bay" – San Francisco. Do you think he should move back to LALA land? Or do you like him where he is now and appreciate the good reads? Either way, send him an e-mail at phildelacruz@aol.com to air out your frustrations or, more likely, songs of praise.

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