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Bonds 1 Hr Away From Aaron's Record

Barry Bonds moved within one of the Hammer, drawing the attention from more late-inning heroics in Arizona.

Bonds hit his 754th home run, a solo shot over the wall in left-center in the first inning, to move within one of Hank Aaron's record in the Giants' 12-10 win over Florida on Friday night.

Asked whether being on the verge of catching Aaron had finally sunk in, Bonds said with a chuckle: ``It's sinking.''

The homer off rookie Rick Vanden Hurk was Bonds' 20th of the season. Bonds walked in his next four at-bats and will keep up his pursuit of Aaron's home run record Saturday night, when Dontrelle Willis starts for the Marlins.

``He knew he got it,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ``After that he didn't get many pitches to hit.''

After a brief pause to put specially marked baseballs in play, Bonds had drawn ball one and ball two _ with boos raining down on Vanden Hurk _ before a called first strike. Then, the 84 mph changeup was gone _ a drive estimated at 420 feet.

``I wanted to throw it down and I left it hanging up and he hit out,'' Vanden Hurk said. ``I knew he got real good wood on it. I knew when I let it go I didn't bury it or finish it all the way. I just left it up. If a pitch is up, you're going to get hurt, obviously.'

Bonds' homer stole the spotlight from the heroics going on in the desert.

After Arizona blew a seven-run lead, Tony Clark homered to lead off the bottom of the 11th and beat the Atlanta Braves 8-7 _ the Diamondbacks' second straight game-winning homer and fifth this season.

Edgar Gonzalez (4-2) worked the 10th and 11th as Arizona won its seventh straight and moved within one game of Los Angeles in the NL West. The Diamondbacks lead San Diego by a half game in the wild card.

``It's good to come away with a win on nights like this,'' Clark said.

The Dodgers' game against the Colorado Rockies on Friday night was rained out. The teams will make it up when the Dodgers return to Denver for a three-game series Sept. 18-20.

In other NL games, it was Philadelphia 8, Pittsburgh 1 in seven innings; Washington 6, New York 2; San Diego 9, Houston 4; Cincinnati 5, Chicago 4; and Milwaukee 12, St. Louis 2.

Clark's homer made up for a mental error by the Diamondbacks' Jose Valverde that helped send the game to extra innings.

Valverde got two quick outs before walking Braves pinch hitter Yunel Escobar. Valverde circled the mound with his back to first base as Escobar trotted down the line. Escobar paused at first long enough to touch the bag, and when Valverde crouched at the side of the mound, Escobar broke for uncovered second base.

The next hitter, Willie Harris, hit a bloop single into shallow center, tying the game at 7.

``I saw him take off and I was yelling, the crowd was yelling, but nobody could hear anything,'' Clark said. ``It was a gutsy call. If he gets caught it's game over.''

The crowd in Arizona wasn't the only one yelling. Fans screamed in delight when Bonds delivered his first homer at home since he connected for No. 750 on June 29 against Arizona's Livan Hernandez. The slugger pumped his fist while ``754'' flashed on the main scoreboard and Bonds blew kisses to his family as he crossed home.

``Tonight was a great night,'' Bonds said, joined in his postgame press conference by wife, Liz, daughter, Aisha, and son, Nikolai. ``The ball was just carrying.''

Bonds had gone homerless in five games and 18 at-bats since hitting two against the Chicago Cubs on July 19 at Wrigley Field. He had been 3-for-18 since his previous homer, but said he didn't think he was overswinging.

Bud Selig wasn't there to see this homer, sending MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy in his place. The commissioner was back in Milwaukee, preparing to go to Sunday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Selig plans to be in Los Angeles when the Giants begin a three-game series against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Bonds did hear from Michael Jordan, though. A taped message from the NBA great played on AT&T Park's video board between innings.

``It was great seeing the board,'' Bonds said, ``and having Michael Jordan say what he said was phenomenal.''

Phillies 8, Pirates 1, 7 innings

At Philadelphia, Pat Burrell homered and had three RBIs and Jamie Moyer (9-8) allowed one run in seven innings in Philadelphia's rain-shortened win.

John Van Benschoten (0-5) gave up two runs in the first inning.

The game was called after a 61-minute delay following the seventh inning.

Nationals 6, Mets 2

At New York, Washington's Ryan Church and Austin Kearns homered to back the pitching of former Met Mike Bacsik (4-6), who scattered eight hits over seven innings.

The Nationals bunched four doubles for three runs against Jorge Sosa (7-6) in the second inning. He has lost five of seven starts since June 13.

Padres 9, Astros 4

At Houston, Milton Bradley homered and Brian Giles had a season-high three RBIs for San Diego and Jake (10-5) Peavy won for the first time since June 19.

Woody Williams (5-12) went six innings and allowed four runs and eight hits as the Astros' three-game winning streak ended.

Reds 5, Cubs 4

At Cincinnati, Edwin Encarnacion drove in Norris Hopper with a game-winning single off Bobby Howry (5-6) in the bottom of the ninth inning.

David Weathers (2-3) gave up five hits and two runs, blowing a save but getting the win.

Brewers 12, Cardinals 2

At St. Louis, Claudio Vargas (9-2) worked eight innings for the first time in four seasons and was backed by Milwaukee's 19-hit attack.

Mike Maroth (0-4) surrendered seven runs and 11 hits and left after facing one batter in the fifth for the Cardinals, who have lost three of their last four.
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