Bonds Homers, Benitez Throws Strikes

Friday, March 16th 2007, 7:59 am
By: News On 6

With Barry Bonds hitting homers and a healthy Armando Benitez throwing strikes, the San Francisco Giants are starting to get excited about the season.

Bonds hit his fourth home run of spring training Friday and Benitez pitched his third scoreless inning, sending San Francisco to an 11-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies in Scottsdale, Ariz.

``We worked today how it could go,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ``We're getting ready for the year now.''

Bonds' latest home run off Byung-Hyun Kim wasn't nearly as memorable as his previous one. The slugger connected off Kim in their first matchup since Bonds passed Babe Ruth with his 715th homer last May.

With the Rockies hoping to showcase Kim for a potential trade, the Giants battered the right-hander for eight runs in 4 2-3 innings. That drove Kim's spring ERA up to 9.00 in 13 innings.

Randy Winn homered and had 3-hits for San Francisco, including an RBI single. Omar Vizquel had a bases-loaded triple in the 2nd before Bonds stepped to bat. He hit a high fly to center that carried well and just cleared the fence for his second homer in two games.

``I've seen enough of them. I knew that was going out,'' Bochy said. ``His ball keeps carrying because he's so strong.''

Benitez, working his way back from last season's knee injuries, allowed only a single to Jud Thigpen and ended the game by striking out Jeff Baker.

Even though Baker was the only 1 of the 4 batters in the inning expected to be on Colorado's opening-day roster, Benitez had his best control of the spring, throwing his slider consistently for strikes.

After blowing eight save chances last year, when he was booed constantly at home, Benitez hopes a healthy season will show those fans how good he can be.

``They signed me here because they know what I can do. They didn't sign me because of my beautiful face,'' Benitez said. ``Nobody wants to be hurt. I had bad luck.''

Even though the team looked into trading Benitez in the offseason, Bochy said he expects the right-hander to be his closer when the season starts.

``There's no point in getting distracted with what happened last year,'' Bochy said. ``That's last year. This is a new year. That's how he has to feel about it. He feels good and he's healthy. That's the biggest part of it.''

Giants starter Matt Cain allowed 4 runs _ 2 earned _ and 5 hits in 4 innings, lowering his spring ERA to 9.24. He hoped to go 5 innings but needed 73 pitches to get through four, ending his day early.

``I need to work on putting away hitters quicker so I can lower my pitch count,'' Cain said.

In other games:

Astros 4, Yankees 3

At Kissimmee, Fla., Robinson Cano hit a 3-run homer off Woody Williams in the 1st, but the 40-year-old right-hander followed with 4 scoreless innings for Houston. New York starter Chien-Ming Wang allowed 1 run and 4 hits with 3 strikeouts and no walks in 5 innings.

Tigers 12, Phillies 9

At Lakeland, Fla., Mike Maroth allowed 3 runs and 3 hits for Detroit, leaving his ERA at 3.86. He allowed his only runs on a 3-run homer by Shane Victorino.

Phillies starter Freddy Garcia yielded 5 runs and 5 hits over 4 2-3 innings in his second start. Carlos Guillen hit a solo homer for the Tigers.

Twins 16, Orioles 2, 7 innings, rain

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sidney Ponson took a step toward earning a job on Minnesota's pitching staff by pitching well against his former team. Ponson allowed 3 hits and an unearned run in 4 innings.

Devil Rays 8, Pirates 3

At St. Petersburg, Fla., Tampa Bay ended a 13-game losing streak _ the majors' longest spring training skid since Montreal lost 14 in a row in 1998. James Shields, the Devil Rays' No. 2 starter, gave up 2 runs and 8 hits in 5 innings.

Mariners 7, Royals 3

At Peoria, Ariz., Miguel Batista pitched 4 solid innings for Seattle, getting 9 groundball outs and 2 double plays. Ichiro Suzuki had an RBI double and Raul Ibanez hit a 3-run homer.

Brewers 3, Angels 2

At Tempe, Ariz., Milwaukee's Claudio Vargas allowed 2 runs and 4 hits in 6 innings. Los Angeles right-hander Dustin Moseley helped his chances of making the team by pitching 4 2-3 scoreless innings.

White Sox 7, Cubs 6

At Tucson, Ariz., Chicago White Sox left fielder Scott Podsednik made his spring training debut, while Mark Prior of the crosstown Cubs tried to find his form in a minor league game.

Podsednik went 1-2 and made a diving catch in his first major league action since surgery to repair a sports hernia in January. The Cubs had Prior throw in a minor league game to work out some mechanical issues after he was roughed up twice early this spring. He tossed 4 1-3 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit while walking 2 and striking out 4.

Cardinals 6, Braves 6, 10 innings

At Kissimmee, Fla., Mark Redman, making his second start since signing with Atlanta last Friday, gave up 3 runs in 5 innings. The Braves scored 4 runs on 8 hits _ including 5 doubles _ in 4 innings against Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter.

Atlanta's Chipper Jones was a late scratch with a sore muscle on his right side.

Marlins 5, Mets 4

At Jupiter, Fla., Tom Glavine allowed 3 hits in 5 scoreless innings and New York reliever Aaron Heilman, who has been bothered by shoulder tendinitis, looked sharp in a scoreless 6th. Hanley Ramirez hit a 2-run homer for Florida.