Bonds homers, but Giants lose

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SAN FRANCISCO – Barry Bonds is two away from tying the Babe.

Bonds hit his 712th home run in the San Francisco Giants’ 5-3 loss to San Diego, moving him even closer to matching Babe Ruth’s total for second place on the career list.

Bonds sent a full-count pitch from Scott Linebrink over the center-field wall for a solo shot that traveled an estimated 440 feet in the bottom of the eighth inning. Linebrink became the 419th pitcher to surrender a home run to Bonds.

The slugger, as popular as ever in his home ballpark despite the steroids accusations surrounding him, came home to chants of “Barry! Barry!” and a loud standing ovation – and he gave the fans a wave before disappearing into the dugout. His home run total flashed on the scoreboard between innings.

Now, the 41-year-old Bonds will resume his chase for No. 714 on the road. The Giants open a two-game series Wednesday night in Milwaukee – where home run king Hank Aaron played much of his career – and then start a three-game, weekend set in Philadelphia.

After that, the Giants return home, where Bonds will face former manager Dusty Baker and the Chicago Cubs.

Bonds’ big hit overshadowed Mike Cameron’s first home run with the Padres, a two-run shot in the first that helped Woody Williams end a three-start winless stretch.

Bonds was 0-for-2 with a walk before hitting his 82nd home run against the Padres, his top victim.

With one out in the sixth and nobody on, Williams (2-1) walked Bonds on six pitches. It was Williams’ lone walk in 5 2-3 strong innings in which he struck out three and allowed two runs and five hits.

Trevor Hoffman recorded the final three outs for his fourth save in as many chances.

Bonds played only six innings in Monday’s 10-4 loss, a move to keep him fresh to play in a day game following a night game, which has not been his typical practice in recent years.

Dave Roberts added an RBI triple and Brian Giles and Mark Bellhorn each doubled in a run for San Diego, which won three in a row for the first time all season.

Pedro Feliz hit his third homer of the year in the Giants’ third straight loss.

Steve Finley hit his fifth triple of 2006. The 41-year-old Finley is the active leader in triples with 117 and he has his most this season since he hit 10 for Arizona in 2003.

Matt Morris (2-2) struggled early but settled down. He won his first two starts of the year but hasn’t had a victory in four since, getting two straight no-decisions before Tuesday’s loss.

Morris took a knee to the right calf in the seventh covering first base on Giles’ fielder’s choice but stayed in the game and recorded his 1,000th career strikeout of Bellhorn to end the inning – his fifth of the game.

Roberts got aboard on second baseman Kevin Frandsen’s throwing error to start the game, then Cameron sent the first pitch from Morris into the left-field seats for his first homer with the Padres. He missed the team’s first 17 games with a strained muscle in his left side.

Notes: Williams singled in the fourth for his first hit of the year. … Giants RF Moises Alou, who hurt his left hip on a ninth-inning double play Sunday against the Diamondbacks, didn’t start for the second straight game. … San Francisco 1B Lance Niekro returned to the lineup after missing two games with a head cold.

AP-ES-05-02-06 1818EDT

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