CHICAGO – Barry Bonds moved within two home runs of Hank Aaron’s record Thursday, sending No. 752 over the right-field bleachers on the first pitch he saw, and No. 753 into the basket of the center-field wall.
The San Francisco slugger returned to the starting lineup for the first time in four games after resting his sore legs, though his two homers weren’t enough for the Giants in a 9-8 loss to the surging Chicago Cubs.
On Friday, the chase moves to Miller Park in Milwaukee, the city where Aaron both started and ended his career. It’s also the home of commissioner Bud Selig, who hasn’t said whether he’ll be in the seats as Bonds attempts to make history.
Bonds’ solo shot in the second pulled the Giants within 4-1 and it was San Francisco’s first hit off Ted Lilly (10-4), who surrendered his third career homer to Bonds and later a two-run single but still won his sixth straight decision to match a career high.
Then Bonds homered in the seventh, a three-run shot off Will Ohman that made it 9-8. Ohman became the 443rd pitcher to give up a home run to Bonds, who has 19 homers on the year. It was Bonds’ 71st multihomer game, second all-time behind Babe Ruth’s 72, and gave him six RBIs – his most since driving in six runs Sept. 22 at Milwaukee.
Chicago could still celebrate afterward. The Cubs earned their 18th victory in the last 23 games and sixth in seven since the All-Star break, moving six games over .500 (50-44) for the first time since June 11, 2005, when they were 33-27.
Brewers 10, Diamondbacks 1
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Rookie Yovani Gallardo pitched six shutout innings and Tony Graffanino homered to help the Brewers, who scored four times in the sixth inning to break it open.
Gallardo (2-1) gave up three hits, walked two and struck out four. He started in place of Brewers ace Ben Sheets, who was put on the disabled list Monday with a sprained right middle finger.
Gallardo has given up just six runs in 25 1-3 innings in his four starts since being called up June 14. He also has made three relief appearances since joining Milwaukee, giving up four runs – three earned – in 9 1-3 innings.
Livan Hernandez (5-6) pitched 5 1-3 innings for Arizona, and was charged with six runs and eight hits. The Diamondbacks have lost eight of their last nine road games.