Bonds Now 4 Shy Of Aaron's HR Record

Wednesday, July 4th 2007, 9:16 am
By: News On 6

Barry Bonds moved a step closer to catching Hank Aaron in the city where Hammerin' Hank tied Babe Ruth's previous home run mark.

Swinging at the first three pitches he saw, Bonds connected on his third try for homer No. 751 on Tuesday night. He moved four shy of Aaron's record following the San Francisco Giants' 7-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Aaron's record-book homer on opening day 1974 landed at Riverfront Stadium, which has since been demolished.

Aaron's record soon will be, too.

``I'm playing pretty good for an old guy,'' the 42-year-old Bonds said. ``I just wish we were playing better as a team.''

So do the Reds, who have the major leagues' worst record and its newest manager.

Brandon Phillips' grand slam gave Pete Mackanin a victory in his debut as Cincinnati's interim manager. Mackanin was promoted from advance scout after Jerry Narron was fired on Sunday night.

``It doesn't matter who the manager is,'' Phillips said. ``It just feels good to get a win.''

Bonds' homer on his third swing of the game drew loud and prolonged boos from the crowd of 37,299, a reminder that fans outside of San Francisco view his record chase through the prism of baseball's steroid scandal.

Like it or not, he's closing in.

``Yeah, it's a little closer,'' Bonds said. ``Can I feel it? No. I can feel 751 right now. I can't feel 755. I can feel 751 _ feels good.''

In other NL games Tuesday, it was: Pittsburgh 6, Milwaukee 2; Chicago 3, Washington 1; Houston 5, Philadelphia 4 in 13 innings; Colorado 11, New York 3; Arizona 7, St. Louis 1; Florida 6, San Diego 4; and Los Angeles 7, Atlanta 6.

Bonds' second career homer off Aaron Harang (9-2) came in a game with a couple of intriguing subplots: A rare matchup of famed home run hitters in Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr., and a near-novice manager dabbling in one of baseball's great dramas.

Bonds and the 37-year-old Griffey have been friends for most of their careers, sons of famous fathers who showed them how to play the game. They catch up online about once a month and feel even closer than their home run totals.

Griffey flied out and walked three times on Tuesday, leaving him with 585 career homers.

``1-0, me against Junior,'' Bonds teased.

It was the first time since Aug. 1, 1976, that two players with so many homers played in the same game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Cleveland's Frank Robinson (586) and Milwaukee's Aaron (755) played in that one.

Rockies 11, Mets 3

Former Met Kaz Matsui had a career-high five hits and Ryan Spilborghs hit his first grand slam to lead host Colorado, which finished with 18 hits.

Garrett Atkins added a two-run home run and three RBIs for the Rockies, while Matt Holliday had two hits and two RBIs. Aaron Cook (5-5), who won for the first time since May 26. He limited the Mets to three runs, two earned, and seven hits over eight innings.

Jason Vargas (0-1), called up from Triple-A New Orleans to replaced injured starter Oliver Perez, gave up nine runs and 11 hits in 3 1-3 innings for New York.

Diamondbacks 7, Cardinals 1

Yusmeiro Petit (1-1) pitched into the sixth inning in place of injured Randy Johnson and visiting Arizona backed him with three home runs.

Chris Young, Chad Tracy and Mark Reynolds connected for the Diamondbacks, who ended a three-game losing streak.

Astros 5, Phillies 4, 13 innings

Hunter Pence hit a solo homer off Jose Mesa (01) on the first pitch of the 13th inning for host Houston.

The rookie center fielder's 10th homer was the third walk-off homer for the Astros in six days.

Matt Albers (2-4) shut out the Phillies in the 12th and 13th.

Cubs 3, Nationals 1

Carlos Zambrano (10-6) won his third consecutive start for visiting Chicago, while Alfonso Soriano again hurt his former team with two hits and two runs scored.

Chicago is 5-0 against Washington this season and has won 10 of 11 overall.

Marlins 6, Padres 4

Hanley Ramirez, who didn't start because of a tweaked left hamstring, hit a pinch-hit two-run homer that highlighted visiting Florida's four-run seventh inning.

Padres starter Greg Maddux (7-5) came into the game with 19 wins against the Marlins, the most of any team in his 340 career victories. He allowed six runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out five with no walks.

Dodgers 7, Braves 6

Wilson Betemit was 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs against his former team and Matt Kemp singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh inning for host Los Angeles.

With one out in the seventh and the game tied 6-6, Jeff Kent doubled off Wilfredo Ledezma (0-1). After a groundout, Kemp singled off Tyler Yates to break the tie.

Pirates 6, Brewers 2

Shane Youman (1-0) gave up two runs over six innings to earn his first major league win and host Pittsburgh took advantage of a season-high four errors by Milwaukee for the win.

Yovani Gallardo (1-1) gave up two earned runs in 2 2-3 innings in his first career relief appearance.