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Giants, Bonds Walk All Over Diamondbacks

September 12, 2004|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

PHOENIX — Compared to chasing hallowed home run records, the moments were decidedly pedestrian.

But they were nearly as indicative of Barry Bonds' dominance as those soaring drives that land in the seats or splash into a cove.

The San Francisco slugger drew three walks in the Giants' 5-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night at Bank One Ballpark, giving him 201 this season to break the mark of 198 he set in 2002.

En route to 700 home runs -- he still needs two -- Bonds became master of the mundane.

He eclipsed Rickey Henderson's career walk record in July, and now has 2,271. He has been walked intentionally 585 times, more than twice as many as the next player on the list, all-time home run leader Hank Aaron.

Bonds' 104 intentional walks this season are easily a record. He was walked intentionally in the seventh inning with the Giants leading, 5-0, prompting the crowd of 36,887 to express displeasure.

"Our guys were asking, 'Who are they booing?' " Giant Manager Felipe Alou said, shaking his head.

The pace of Bonds' free passes has accelerated along with his power the last four years. He has 751 walks since opening day, 2001. To put the number in perspective, consider that Giant teammate Marquis Grissom, a leadoff batter much of his career, has 543 walks in 15 seasons.

Reasons opponents pitch around Bonds are obvious. He set the single-season homer record of 73 in 2001, batted a National League high .370 in 2002 and has 204 home runs the last four years. In the last four years he has the four highest on-base percentages since 1957, including .614 this season in which he has 40 home runs.

"Barry never swings at bad pitches," Alou said.

Setting a record for walks seemed inevitable against Diamondback starter Stephen Randolph, who entered with 64 walks in 66 1/3 innings. Bonds walked in the first inning, singled in the third and walked and scored in the fifth. Lance Cormier issued the intentional walk in the seventh and Brian Bruney struck him out looking in the ninth.

The record also seemed inevitable given the sentiment of Diamondback Manager Al Pedrique, who is determined not to let Bonds hit No. 700 in Arizona. The series ends today.

"I don't want him to do it here," Pedrique said. "I'm sorry for the fans. I'm sorry for baseball. But that's the way it is."

Alou wondered if perhaps a milestone was reached despite Pedrique's caution.

"Maybe they set a record for boos," he said.

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