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The Barry Best 72

Bonds Doesn't Waste Time, as He Picks on Park and Adds Two to His Books

October 06, 2001|JASON REID | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Bonds was eager, the Dodgers were uncomfortable and the crowd anticipated a historic collision.

Bonds didn't make the San Francisco Giants' fans or Dodger starter Chan Ho Park wait long Friday night, hitting his record-setting 71st home run in the first inning and adding his 72nd in the fourth of a game that was tied at 10-10 through six innings.

"Every time I have a chance to enjoy something, something else comes up," said Bonds, who recorded his 56th career multihomer game and 10th this season. "Today, we finally put to rest Franklin [his friend, Franklin [Bradley, who died last week], and I haven't had much sleep at all. We got in late [after a series against the Houston Astros at Enron Field], and I was up this morning early."

He appeared alert against Park, who worked only four innings despite being staked to leads of 5-0 and 6-1 in what could be the upcoming free agent's final start for the Dodgers. Rich Aurilia hit his career-high 37th homer in the sixth against Giovanni Carrara, and the two-run shot tied the score at 10-10.

Bonds lifted the Giants' spirits after the Dodgers scored five runs in their half of the first and chased starter Shawn Estes. He hit a two-out, solo shot to right-center on a 1-and-0 fastball from Park. The ball was caught by Jerry Rose, 49, a Giant season-ticket holder from Knights Landing near Sacramento.

With the crowd on its feet, Bonds, 37, raised his arms and dropped his bat on contact at 8:14 p.m., igniting a thunderous celebration common here this season.

Fireworks provided the backdrop as Bonds circled the bases, and the perennial all-star and his son, Nokolai, hugged at the plate while disappearing into a throng of well-wishing Giants.

Bonds bumped Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals into second place on the single-season list with three homers in less than 24 hours, racing past the seemingly unbreakable record of 70 established only three seasons ago.

"It's just fate," said Gary Sheffield, one of Bonds' closest friends. "Certain things ... when it's meant to be it's going to happen. There's no way around it. You look at the way the season is going. He's got [72] home runs now.

"The tragedy that happened rearranged the schedule so that he would finished at home. So it's all fate. I knew in some way, shape or form that he was either going to tie the record or break the record against us. I just knew that."

After entering the dugout to speak briefly with his father, Bobby, who was attending his golf tournament in Bridgeport, Conn., Bonds reemerged to the cheers of fans only getting started.

Bonds took a curtain call and went into the stands behind the backstop area to hug his wife, Liz, and mother Pat, capping a six-minute celebration.

Then to the disappointment of Park and the Dodgers, Bonds went back to work.

With the Giants trailing, 8-4, in the third Bonds led off with his second homer to center on a 1-and-1 breaking pitch. The crowd chanted "Bar-ry, Bary-ry" as Bonds moved past Jimmie Foxx into fifth place on that all-time multihomer list. The ball went over the wall but landed back on the field, and center fielder Marquis Grissom threw it into the infield and the Giants retrieved it for Bonds.

"What he's done is incredible," said Shawn Green, who added to his Dodger record with his 49th homer. "It's just an incredible feat. Everyone has respect for what he's done."

Bonds, who has 566 homers, seemed to quickly rediscover his swing after the Astros walked him eight times and hit him once in 14 plate appearances. He led off the ninth inning of Thursday's 10-2 victory against the Astros with his 70th homer against rookie left-hander Wilfredo Rodriguez and then tortured Park in the opener of the clubs' closing three-game series.

In the fourth, the Dodgers intentionally walked Bonds, who has also set a season record for walks, to load the bases and Jeff Kent delivered a three-run double to cut the lead to 9-8. Bonds flied out to left in the sixth against Carrara.

Park gave up seven hits, Bonds' homers among them, and eight runs (seven earned) in the no-decision. He had three walks and two strikeouts while throwing only 48 strikes in 82 pitches.

Bonds hit his 500th homer against Terry Adams earlier this season, and now Park also is tied to him throughout history.

By now, Park should be accustomed to that role. He was on the wrong end of Fernando Tatis' two grand slams in one inning, and he also gave up a homer to Cal Ripken in the All-Star game at Seattle this year.

"This is the worst situation a pitcher could be in," said Sheffield, whose 36th homer in the sixth gave the Dodgers a 10-8 lead. "This place here, the history ... I wouldn't want to be a pitcher in this situation."

I wouldn't want to be in Manager Jim Tracy instructed Dodger pitchers to challenge Bonds, believing that the integrity of the game was more important than denying the rival Giants a magic moment at their expense.

"We're going to play to win," Tracy said. "We've been doing it that way since the second of April, and we're not going to deviate from our course now."

Players acknowledged it would be unsettling for Bonds to set the record against the Dodgers.

"Of any team, the Dodgers are the one team that ...we would least like to see this happen, mainly because of the rivalry," Green said.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

SINGLE-SEASON HOME RUN LEADERS

Barry Bonds 2001: 72

Mark McGwire 1998: 70

Sammy Sosa 1998: 66

Mark McGwire 1999: 65

Sammy Sosa 1999: 63

Sammy Sosa 2001: 62

Roger Maris 1961: 61

Babe Ruth 1927: 60

*

HOME RUN RECORD PROGRESSION

16: Socks Seybold, Philadelphia A's, 1903

29: Babe Ruth, Boston, 1919

54: Babe Ruth, N.Y. Yankees, 1920

59: Ruth, Yankees, 1921

60: Ruth, Yankees, 1927

61: Roger Maris, Yankees, 1961

70: McGwire, St. Louis, 1998

72: Bonds, San Francisco, 2001

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