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Bonds Starts to Play Long Ball Again

Baseball: He hits three-run homer that helps Giants defeat Diamondbacks to move within 41/2 games of Dodgers.

July 08, 2002|From Associated Press

PHOENIX — Barry Bonds and the San Francisco Giants are looking like contenders again.

Bonds homered for the second game in a row, and the Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-2, Sunday night to split their four-game series.

"It's a great way to go into the All-Star break," Giant Manager Dusty Baker said, "especially because the Dodgers lost."

Arizona's loss kept the Diamondbacks 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West. The Giants are 4 1/2 back. Baker expects a fast start for his team when play resumes.

"I really believe that this year we're going to come back smoking after the break," he said.

Bonds had gone 33 at-bats without a home run, his longest drought this season, before hitting his first homer against Randy Johnson in San Francisco's 3-2 victory Saturday night.

He followed with a three-run shot against Rick Helling on Sunday, his 27th.

Bonds was three for three with two walks, reaching base in every plate appearance.

Benito Santiago hit a two-run homer for the Giants, also against Helling, who has given up a league-leading 21 home runs. Robb Nen pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 27 tries.

"Both of our All-Stars hit home runs, and our All-Star pitcher got the save," Baker said, "so it was an All-Star day."

Bonds' homer gave the Giants a 5-1 lead and knocked out Helling (7-7) after only 2 1/3 innings. He gave up five runs and four hits while matching his shortest outing this season.

Helling hurt his right ankle in a collision at the plate with the Dodgers' Brian Jordan in his start Wednesday night, but he insisted it didn't bother him. Baker disagreed.

"I could tell he was limping around," Baker said. "He wasn't throwing the same."

Rookie Ryan Jensen (9-6) gave up two runs and seven hits in seven innings for his third victory in a row. Jensen, 5-1 in his last seven starts, struck out five and walked one. He leads the Giants in victories.

The Diamondbacks sputtered again to finish 3-4 in a homestand against the Dodgers and Giants. They were shut out by the Dodgers in the first two games, then scored two runs in each of the last three against San Francisco. They failed to homer during the homestand.

"It's kind of amazing to look at our lineup and think we haven't hit a home run for whatever it's been," Manager Bob Brenly said. "But they'll come back, and they'll come in bunches.

"When you're forced to try to come back against the Eric Gagnes and Robb Nens of the world, it's going to make it pretty tough."

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