Bonds blasted a majestic shot in the top of the ninth inning that hit the center-field scoreboard to help San Francisco bury Arizona, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon at the BOB. It was Bonds' 699th career homerun and places him just one homer away from the elite 700 HR club, chartered only by two other players.
"I was happy for Barry that he finally got a pitch to hit and he had to outdo me. He showed me up a little bit," said a joking A.J. Pierzynski, who hit a homerun of his own to give the Giants (79-65) their first run of the game in the top of the fourth inning.
Pierzynski's batterymate, Jason Schmidt, surrendered single runs in the first two innings before settling down by proceeding to retire 21 consecutive batters in a row. Schmidt didn't allow another baserunner until the ninth inning when Chad Tracy doubled to right-field. He then retired the next batter to end the game for his fourth complete game of the season.
After three shaky starts in which he allowed six earned runs in each contest, Schmidt was finally "dialed in" on Sunday by striking out nine batters and allowing only the two runs on four hits. He improved his record to 16-6 for the season.
"He definitely got sharper as he went along and it was a joy," Pierzynski said of Schmidt. "It was good to see him get back. He needed that. We needed that as a team."
The Giants got their second run off the bat of J.T. Snow in the top of the fifth inning when Snow hit a towering flyball to right-field that just cleared the fence, a few inches over the glove of a leaping Josh Kroeger, which tied the game at 2-2.
San Francisco broke the tie in the top of the eighth inning with a little help from Lady Luck. Deivi Cruz raked a ball up the middle which Mike Koplove made an attempt at, but the ball ricocheted of his glove and passed the charging shortstop to score pinch-runner Jason Ellison from second base for the go-ahead run, 3-2.
Bonds and Pedro Feliz then hit back-to-back shots in the top of the ninth inning to extend the lead to 5-2.
With the win, the Giants took sole possession of the Wild-Card lead as the Chicago Cubs fell to the Florida Marlins on Sunday, 11-1. The Giants won their third straight rubber game, dating back to last Sunday.
"The Giants have done something so paramount in September and that is win the last game of the series," Mike Krukow said. "They have got a head of steam heading into the off day. They can sit on a win."
San Francisco will also be sitting on a plane, headed to Milwaukee to play the Brewers for a three-game set, beginning on Tuesday. A particular Wisconsin resident by the name of Duane Kuiper will be enthused as he returns home.
"We do not like bummed-out plane rides and there will not be one tonight," Kuip said as the Giants get out of the desert and away from Diamondbacks Manager Al Pedrique.
"We had a plan, and the plan was not to throw Barry Bonds a strike," Pedrique said. "I'm not going to find excuses. I probably should have walked him."
Thank God the Giants are through playing Arizona and won't be seeing them again until next season. Hopefully by then, the D-Backs will have replaced Pedrique and his tired act with a new manager, someone who can actually lead a team without having his tail between his legs.
Game Notes: Due to their heavy dosage of left-handed hitting, Milwaukee may face former Brewer Wayne Franklin in one of the games of their upcoming series with the Giants... Chalk Mike Koplove up as the 414th pitcher to serve it up to Barry... Out of the 204 walks Bonds has been issued, 104 of them have been intentional, which is also a new record.
SFDugout.com's Player of the Game: Jason Schmidt, who will need to continue finding his "groove" if the Giants have any hopes of clinching a postseason berth. With four more starts, he's probably going to have to win them all, which should also give him 20 wins for the season and a possible Cy Young award.
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 email@example.com to air out your frustrations or, more likely, songs of praise.
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