Bonds moved ahead of Mantle, and McGwire's record pace with his
43rd and 44th homers -- the second one a grand slam -- as the San
Francisco Giants beat Curt Schilling and the Arizona Diamondbacks
11-3 Thursday night.
Bonds passed Mantle into ninth place on the career homer list
with 538. The pair were tied at 536 homers going into the game.
Asked if it meant a lot to pass one of the game's greatest names, Bonds smiled, winked and said, "Yeah, but I've got higher sights."
He insists those sights don't include McGwire's home run record of 70 set three years ago.
"I just know it's not realistic," Bonds said. "I've slumped off a little bit, and I don't want to be considered just a power hitter. There's a little bit more to my game than just home runs."
The Giants left fielder had gone without a homer and had only
two hits in his previous 19 at-bats before he lined a solo shot
over the right-field fence in the fourth inning. Bonds followed
with his ninth career slam, but first since April 26, 1998, to left in the fifth.
Asked if he was surprised it had been so long since his last grand slam, "No, because I usually get walked with the bases loaded."height="5">
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It was a good-natured shot at former Arizona manager Buck Showalter, who walked Bonds intentionally with the bases loaded in 1998.
Bonds said it was the victory, not the homers, that were important for a Giants team trying to climb back in the NL West race.
"Every at-bat for us is the one that counts right now," he said. "If they win, it's just closer to our grave."
Both of Bonds' homers came on the first pitch from Schilling (14-5), who also gave up a home run to Rich Aurilia and leads the majors in homers allowed with 29.
Schilling allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings. He
struck out four and walked two. He had thrown 14 scoreless innings
in a row before Aurilia and Bonds homered on consecutive pitches to
put San Francisco up 2-1 in the fourth.
"For three innings, I felt like I did what I wanted to do, then
all of a sudden I stopped," Schilling said. "I missed by a good
three feet on Aurilia on an 0-1 fastball, and he hit it out. I left
a curveball hanging to Barry and he hammered it."
A rare walk by Schilling to Marvin Benard led to the bases being
loaded for Bonds in the fifth.
"If you don't walk people, you never have to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam," Schilling said. "I got ahead 0-2, and ended up walking him. It's a crucial mistake and it ended up costing us the game."
Pedro Feliz homered off reliever Erik Sabel in the sixth to give
the Giants their second four-homer game in a row. Jeff Kent connected off Greg Swindell in the ninth to give the Giants five
homers Thursday and nine in two games.
Bonds' 44th homer came in San Francisco's 103rd game. McGwire's 44th came in St. Louis' 104th game. No one has hit 44 quicker.
The Diamondbacks, whose lead over Los Angeles in the NL West
slipped to a half-game, loaded the bases against Livan Hernandez
three times in the first four innings but led only 3-2.
"I think we ought to just load the bases and let Livan start right there," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "He seemed to make his best pitches when he was in the most trouble, and that's kind of been his history against us."
Hernandez (9-11) survived 68 pitches in the first two innings to
win his third in a row. He allowed nine hits, struck out none and
walked four in six innings, throwing 127 pitches. He was also
3-for-3 at the plate, including a double.
"They certainly could have blown that game open real early,"
Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "Fortunately for us we stayed
close, our bats came alive and we hit some huge home runs."
Damian Miller was 4-for-4, his second career four-hit game, for
Hernandez singled off Schilling with one out in the fifth, then
Marvin Benard walked and Aurilia's bunt single loaded the bases to
set the stage for Bonds' slam.
It was Bonds' 52nd multihomer game, seventh on the career list, and sixth this season.
Arizona's Luis Gonzalez, who pulled within one homer of Bonds on
Wednesday night, narrowly missed his 42nd in the first inning when
he smashed one off the railing just below the home run line at the
413-foot mark in right-center. He got a triple.
"We're not having a home run contest," Bonds said with a
laugh. "He won that at the All-Star Game."
Baker says he and Williams patched up their differences in a telephone conversation Tuesday. The close friends had to be restrained from going at each other in a bench-clearing
confrontation after Chad Zerbe threw a pitch behind Williams last
Sunday. ... Four Giants have been hit by a nasty flu virus, and
J.T. Snow was still to ill to play. ... Of the 29 homers Schilling
has allowed, 24 have been solo shots. ... Babe Ruth hit his 44th
homer in his 104th game in 1921, when he hit 59.
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