Bonds hits 710th home run


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Barry Bonds finally hit a home run for his home fans.

The San Francisco slugger hit his second homer of the season and first of the year in the Giants’ waterfront ballpark Tuesday night, sending a 1-1 pitch from Mets starter Steve Trachsel into the left-field seats for No. 710 of his career.

He hadn’t homered in San Francisco since Sept. 18, 2005, against the Dodgers – one of only two he hit at home last year in his injury-shortened season.

The 41-year-old Bonds, nursing a tender surgically repaired right knee and a swollen left elbow, grimaced noticeably as he limped around the bases after his shot to start the second inning – arriving at home plate to chants of “Barry! Barry!”

He returned to play left field in the top of the third, waving several times to the cheering fans before tipping his cap in two directions.

Bonds, who has said in recent days his knee is hurting him, struck out on four pitches in the fourth.

About an hour before the game he received a massage on his knee, which underwent three operations in 2005 and kept him out all but 14 games. He also briefly stopped his clubhouse card game in the afternoon to watch his television series, “Bonds on Bonds.”

Bonds, who hit his first homer of the year Saturday at Colorado, wasn’t expected to be in the lineup for Wednesday’s day game – the finale of the three-game series with New York.

Trachsel challenged the seven-time NL MVP and gave up his third career homer to Bonds, whose last seven homers at home have been solo shots. This one came a night after Bonds drew the 617th and 618th intentional walks of his career and went 0-for-1 with three walks in all.

Moises Alou drove in five runs following the intentional free passes in Monday’s 6-2 win, giving the Giants 18 runs scored after Bonds’ intentional walks this season.

Mets manager Willie Randolph said before Tuesday’s game he may not always intentionally walk Bonds and that he would evaluate each situation.

“Tonight could be totally different,” Randolph said. “I’m going by respect for his ability.”

Bonds is five homers from passing Babe Ruth for second on the career list and 46 away from breaking Hank Aaron’s mark of 755.

Bonds said before Monday’s game the only thing keeping him going is trying to win a championship before he’s through, acknowledging Aaron’s record is probably out of reach.

AP-ES-04-25-06 2328EDT