Giants club Braves


SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants didn’t need much from Barry Bonds to knock around Tim Hudson and Atlanta, getting four hits and five RBIs from Omar Vizquel and a two-run homer from Moises Alou to beat the Braves 12-6.

The Giants scored eight runs off Hudson to help Jamey Wright (1-0) win his San Francisco debut. Alou hit his 299th career homer in the first and Vizquel hit a three-run double in a five-run second against Hudson.

Bonds went 1-for-3 with two walks, remaining stuck on 708 career home runs. He is 2-for-10 with five walks and no RBIs through the Giants’ first five games this season, the longest he has gone into a season when healthy without a homer since 1998 when he didn’t go deep until San Francisco’s 13th game.

According to the new book “Game of Shadows,” Bonds began using steroids after that season, although he has denied ever using them.

The homerless start has slowed Bonds’ chase of the career home run record. He remains seven shy of passing Babe Ruth for second place and is 48 away from breaking Hank Aaron’s total of 755.

Bonds hit a broken-bat fly to center in the first, walked in the second, singled in the fourth on a liner that knuckled past shortstop Edgar Renteria, lined out to right field in the seventh and walked in the eighth.

Wright (1-0) faced just one batter over the minimum through the first five innings, getting some help from his defense. The Giants turned double plays in the third, fourth and fifth innings and Bonds even made two nice running grabs in left field.

Wright allowed four runs and five hits in seven-plus innings, leaving to a standing ovation. After spending six of his first 10 seasons in the thin air in Colorado, Wright was glad to move to the Giants’ pitcher-friendly ballpark, where he is now 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA.

The Braves once again struggled with their pitching. They have won 14 straight division titles behind their stellar pitching staff but are off to a slow start in their first season since pitching coach Leo Mazzone left for Baltimore.

Atlanta has a 7.76 ERA through six games and its starters are even worse with a 11.57 mark. In Mazzone’s 15 full seasons as pitching coach, the Braves never had an ERA higher than 4.10 and finished in the top three in the league 13 times.

Hudson gave up six earned runs and eight hits in four innings for his second straight rough start. But his hitters weren’t able to bail him out as they did on opening day in Los Angeles.

He walked Vizquel to open the game and one out later Alou homered. Hudson got out of the first without any more damage but was hit hard again in the second.

Pedro Feliz led off by reaching on an error by third baseman Chipper Jones and Todd Greene followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Jose Vizcaino then hit a chopper to first baseman Adam LaRoche. Feliz held on the play and with Hudson failing to cover first base, LaRoche had no play and Vizcaino got a gift single to load the bases.

Vizquel cleared the bases with a double and scored on Steve Finley’s triple. Vizquel added an RBI single in the third to make it 8-0 and another run-scoring single in a four-run eighth.

Chipper Jones had three RBIs for the Braves.

Notes: Finley tripled for the second straight game, giving him 114 for his career, which is the most of any active player – 16 more than Kenny Lofton. … The Giants starting outfield of Bonds (41), Alou (39) and Finley (41) was the oldest in baseball history at an average age of 40 years, 309 days. … Hudson failed to strike out a batter for just the second time in 214 career starts.

AP-ES-04-08-06 1856EDT