Bonds Heads Home Still Looking for No. 700

Friday, September 17th 2004, 6:51 am
By: News On 6

(AP)_Barry Bonds left Milwaukee without No. 700. Aramis Ramirez left the Cincinnati Reds in awe.

The Cubs' third baseman homered three times, accounting for all of Chicago's runs Thursday, and the Cubs stayed a half-game behind San Francisco in the playoff race with a 5-4 victory in Cincinnati. The Giants beat the Brewers 4-0.

``One-man wrecking crew,'' Reds starter Josh Hancock marveled. ``If I had the kitchen sink in my back pocket, I would have thrown it up there and he probably would have hit it.''

Ramirez, who also hit three homers against Philadelphia on July 30, hit a two-run homer in the first, a solo shot in the fifth, then put the Cubs ahead in the seventh with a two-out, two-run drive off Ryan Wagner (3-2).

Bonds had three hits _ two singles and a double. He didn't join Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth as the only major leaguers with 700 home runs, but he did pass another Yankees great, Lou Gehrig, for 49th place on the hits list with 2,722.

In other NL games it was: Houston 8, St. Louis 3; Florida 4, Montreal 3; San Diego 3, Los Angeles 0; New York 9, Atlanta 4; and Arizona 8, Colorado 5.

Bonds' three line drives backed rookie Brad Hennessey (2-2), who allowed two hits over seven strong innings in the Giants' fifth straight victory.

``That's all that matters,'' Bonds said. ``That's the key. We've got to keep winning. We're not playing for 700 home runs. We're playing to win.''

Victor Santos (10-11) took the loss.

The six-time MVP's 700th homer will likely come at SBC Park, where the Giants begin a nine-game homestand Friday night against the San Diego Padres, his favorite longball victims. He has 78 homers off the Padres, more than any other opponent.

Ramirez had a chance to tie the big league record of four homers, but flew out routinely to right field in the ninth. He finished 4-for-5 with the double, tying the club record with 14 total bases.

Kerry Wood (8-7) gave up five hits and four runs in seven innings, striking out nine. LaTroy Hawkins finished for his 22nd save.

Astros 8, Cardinals 3

At St. Louis, Jeff Kent doubled twice and had four RBIs to help Houston snap Jason Marquis' 11-game winning streak.

Albert Pujols hit his 44th home run for St. Louis, which committed a season-high four errors.

The Astros took two of three from the NL Central leaders, staying two games behind San Francisco in the wild-card race.

Marquis (14-5) lost for the first time in 18 starts since May 26, giving up seven runs _ four earned _ in six innings.

Chad Harville (2-2) got the win.

Marlins 4, Expos 3

At Miami, Dontrelle Willis won for the first time in five starts, and Florida overcame a 3-0 deficit to stay 3 1/2 back in the wild-card race.

Jeff Conine drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth, and Juan Pierre hit a two-run triple. Willis (10-9) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings, and Armando Benitez finished for his 42nd save.

Livan Hernandez (10-14) took the loss, pitching his major league-leading eighth complete game.

Padres 3, Dodgers 0

At Los Angeles, Adam Eaton allowed five hits over seven innings and Brian Giles homered for the second straight game.

The Dodgers' loss cut their lead in the NL West to 2 1/2 games over San Francisco _ their smallest since July 31. San Diego are three back in the wild-card race.

Eaton (10-13) walked one and struck out six, and Trevor Hoffman recorded his 38th save, tying Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for third on the career list with 390.

Jeff Weaver (12-11) allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings.

Mets 9, Braves 4

At New York, Richard Hidalgo and Todd Zeile hit back-to-back homers in New York's seven-run first inning.

Mike Cameron had three hits and drove in two runs for the Mets, who won their first series in almost a month.

Steve Trachsel (11-13) allowed two earned runs and eight hits in six-plus innings.

Jose Capellan (0-1), pitching on three days' rest in place of an injured Mike Hampton, allowed seven runs, six hits and two walks in one inning in his second big league start.

Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 5

At Phoenix, Danny Bautista hit a run-scoring double in the seventh and scored on Alex Cintron's sacrifice fly.

Chad Tracy added a two-run homer in the eighth inning to help the Diamondbacks win three straight for the first time in over three months.