Giants thwart Dodgers

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SAN FRANCISCO – It’s beginning to look as if Barry Bonds’ next milestone home run might have to wait until his team’s upcoming road trip.

The slugger spent another day stuck at 713 and one behind Babe Ruth for second place on the career list, going 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout Saturday in the San Francisco Giants’ 6-5 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bonds wasn’t around to celebrate Omar Vizquel’s winning sacrifice fly to right after Jason Ellison replaced him in left field in the top of the ninth.

The Giants scored four runs in the ninth against Danys Baez (2-2), also getting RBI singles from Lance Niekro and pinch-hitter Dan Ortmeier and a run-scoring double by Todd Greene. Jose Vizcaino entered to run for Greene at third and scored the winning run. Vizquel was immediately mobbed near first – Bonds nowhere to be seen.

Now, Bonds must hit two Sunday in the finale of the seven-game homestand to pass Ruth before leaving town for the six-game trip. And the Dodgers certainly don’t want to be Bonds’ latest victim.

Bonds hasn’t homered in five games since hitting No. 713 with a 450-foot shot last Sunday in Philadelphia, and manager Felipe Alou even moved him up from the cleanup spot to No. 3 in the order in an effort to get him going.

But Bonds is hitless in his last 13 at-bats with five walks since his seventh-inning single Tuesday night against former teammate Scott Eyre of the Cubs.

After Sunday’s series finale against the archrivals, the Giants leave town for a three-game series starting Monday at Houston, followed by a weekend interleague matchup at Oakland in which Bonds can play designated hitter. Giants’ management can’t be thrilled thinking about the possibility of Bonds passing Ruth in the run-down ballpark across San Francisco Bay.

Bonds struck out looking in the first after taking three straight balls from Aaron Sele to start a seven-pitch at-bat.

Some fans were on their feet with chants of “Barry! Barry!” – though the stadium lacked the atmosphere of the previous night in the series opener.

Bonds lined out to left on the first pitch he saw to start the fourth, which Sele completed on a total of four pitches. Bonds walked on four pitches in the sixth with the bases empty, then grounded out to first on a 3-2 pitch in the eighth.

Los Angeles’ Nomar Garciaparra extended his hitting streak to eight games with a solo home run to left in the third for his seventh straight game driving in a run, then drew a bases-loaded walk from Scott Munter in the seventh for another RBI.

Jeff Kent hit a solo shot over Bonds’ head leading off the fourth for his fifth homer of the year, and J.D. Drew had a two-run single and a triple for the Dodgers, who saw Baez blow his fifth save.

Armando Benitez (2-0) pitched the ninth for the win.

Sele was in line to win his second straight outing after being called up May 6 from Triple-A Las Vegas to make an emergency start for Odalis Perez, who had returned home to visit his ill mother in the Dominican Republic. Sele signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers on Jan. 17.

The 41-year-old Bonds returned to the third spot in the order for the first time in nearly three years. He has 328 homers from the No. 3 hole.

“They tell me Babe Ruth hit for average,” Alou said. “Right now, he’s not hitting for average. I believe he’s capable of hitting for average.”

The seven-time NL MVP batted third instead of cleanup for the first time since May 23, 2003, at Colorado, where he went 2-for-3 with two singles in front of Benito Santiago.

Alou spoke to Bonds while he was undergoing treatment Saturday morning and brought up the idea of moving him up, something Alou said came to him the night before.

“I think it’s a good time to do that,” Alou said. “He’s not hitting right now. Though he’s not hitting, they’re still walking him. We don’t have a cleanup hitter because they’re not pitching to him. Maybe this move will invite some people. He’s going to come up in the first inning for sure.”

Noah Lowry allowed five runs and seven hits in 6 2-3 innings in his second start off the disabled list after straining a muscle in his right side April 6 against Atlanta in the Giants’ home opener. He pitched seven strong innings to beat the Houston Astros in a makeup game Monday night.

Lowry laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the fifth to drive in the Giants’ first run. Niekro had three hits, two RBIs and scored a run.

Notes: Dodgers 3B Bill Mueller, placed on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his right knee before Friday’s game, will have surgery Monday in Phoenix by Dr. David Zeman. … Steve Finley batted cleanup behind Bonds. … Sele faced the Giants for the first time since June 11, 2000, as a member of the Mariners. … Dusty Baker’s 7-year-old son, Darren, and Bonds’ 7-year-old daughter, Aisha, announced the lineups in the third. … The game drew 42,864 fans, the second straight sellout and third of the season. It was the fourth-largest regular-season crowd in the ballpark’s 6-year history. One man sported a Ruth jersey. … The Giants won for only the second time after trailing through eight.

AP-ES-05-13-06 1854EDT


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