Bonds hits No. 69, one away from McGwire's record

Sunday, September 30th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Barry Bonds hit his 69th home run Saturday, moving within one of the record Mark McGwire set three seasons ago.

It was the second homer in as many games for Bonds, who has five home runs in his last six games. The homer was the 563rd of Bonds' career, tying Reggie Jackson for seventh on the career list.

Bonds' homer splashed into McCovey Cove, a part of San Francisco Bay just behind the right-field wall. Boaters, kayakers and guys on surfboards battled for the ball in the water.

Bonds homered on a 2-1 pitch off left-hander Chuck McElroy, who was facing his first batter of the game. He relieved Brett Jodie at the start of the sixth inning. The homer gave the San Francisco Giants a 2-1 lead over the San Diego Padres.

Bonds stopped after he touched home plate to point skyward _ as has become his custom in recent weeks. He then took a curtain call as fans chanted his name.

McGwire hit 70 homers in 1998 to break Roger Maris' 37-year-old record of 61, but Bonds is just one from matching McGwire's mark with seven games left after Saturday.

The Giants have one more game at home against San Diego on Sunday, then travel to homer-friendly Enron Field in Houston for three games. They return to San Francisco to finish the regular season with a three-game series against Los Angeles.

The homer was the 11th in September for Bonds, surpassing his career best for homers in the final month of the season.

Bonds has 63 career homers against San Diego, his most against any team.

The drive also gave Bonds 132 RBIs, extending his career best.

Bonds, already the most prolific left-handed home run hitter in NL history, has passed nine players on the overall career list since hitting his 500th homer on April 18.