Bonds' drought reaches nine games in loss to A's

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Playing designated hitter made no

difference for Barry Bonds.

At least not in his pursuit of Babe Ruth.

Bonds' homerless streak extended to nine games after the San

Francisco slugger went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout in the

Giants' 1-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Friday night --

remaining stalled at 713 and one shy of tying Ruth for second place

on the career list.

"I'm staying out of the news, brotha," Bonds said before

hitting the showers and then hitting the road.

Dan Haren allowed two hits in eight innings to win his third

straight start, Eric Chavez had an RBI groundout and Mark Kotsay

doubled twice and singled in Oakland's fifth straight victory.

Haren didn't allow a hit until Steve Finley's two-out single to

right in the fourth and shut down the Giants' offense all game,

escaping a jam with runners on first and second with one out in the

eighth. The right-hander pitched a complete game Sunday at Yankee

Stadium in a 6-1 over New York left-hander Randy Johnson, so he had

been in another spotlight game only five days earlier.

Haren (4-3) had said he wouldn't mind surrendering a milestone

home run to Bonds as long as the A's win. But Bonds never came

close despite his aching body getting a break from standing in the


He flied out to center leading off the second and walked on six

pitches in the fourth with Finley on first and camera flashes

lighting up the stadium from all directions. With one out in the

seventh, Bonds lined out to left on a 3-0 pitch -- the first time he

put a 3-0 pitch in play since doing it three times in 2004.

"I was definitely surprised," Haren said. "That could have

easily been the pitch right there."

Bonds struck out swinging on a changeup to end it against Huston

Street, who recorded the final three outs for his seventh save in

eight chances.

"That's the fun part of the game," Street said. "It was one

of those fairy-tale situations. Ninth inning, one-run game, Barry

Bonds at the plate, one of the best all-time home run hitters. To

be able to get the job done for my team was special."

A's manager Ken Macha said he talked to pitching coach Curt

Young before the inning about walking Bonds, but decided to let

Street challenge him.

"He's scuffling a little bit," Macha said of the slugger.

Bonds was booed when he jogged onto the field to warm up before

first pitch, which was delayed 31 minutes because of rain. He

received the same treatment each time he headed to the on-deck

circle, and again once stepping into the batter's box.

"Be a man and admit it, Barry!" one man yelled in a reference

to the steroids accusations surrounding the slugger.

"Steroids!" another hollered.

Bonds hasn't homered since hitting No. 713 on May 7 at

Philadelphia. He is 4-for-29 (.138) with 10 walks and two RBI

since that homer.

"He had some good swings on pitches that were really tough,"

Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "They were pitching to Barry and

got him out. ... They (home runs) will come, especially if they

pitch to him."

Playing DH, he didn't have to worry about injuring his

surgically repaired right knee in the soggy outfield grass or

embarrassing himself with what has become unreliable defense.

The 41-year-old slugger acknowledged earlier this month his

future might very well be in the American League as a designated

hitter. Bonds is in the final season of a five-year, $90 million

contract and is no longer sure he will retire in a Giants uniform.

He is 0-for-6 with two walks in his career against Haren, and

Bonds has never faced Brad Halsey or Joe Blanton -- who start

Saturday and Sunday for the A's.

Macha plans to pitch around Bonds if the situation calls for it.

"I think everybody is interested in a historical event, but I'm

OK if it doesn't happen here," Macha said.

Earlier in the day, Major League Baseball announced a four-game

suspension for Astros reliever Russ Springer after the right-hander

plunked Bonds in the shoulder on Tuesday in Houston. Astros manager

Phil Garner was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed


The A's have won the last four in the Bay Bridge series after

taking four of six meetings in 2005, including a 16-0 win June 26.

The Giants had matched their season-best winning streak of three

games following a sweep of the defending NL champion Astros.

Haren won again against good friend and former Pepperdine

teammate Noah Lowry (1-1), who made only his fourth start of the

season after missing time with a strained muscle in his right side.

Oakland, facing a lefty starter for the seventh time in 13

games, loaded the bases against Lowry with one out in the third but

managed only one run.

"I did what I could and it was not enough tonight," Lowry

said. "I know what Haren is capable of. That's not something I

concern myself with. ... I'd take one run in six innings any day.

Those innings weren't easy."Game notes
Bonds has hit eight of his home runs as a DH. ... The A's

entered the series opener owning the best record in interleague

play of any team at 95-63 (.601). Oakland is 27-24 in interleague

play against the Giants. ... All three games were sold out. Oakland

reduced capacity by about 10,000 seats this year to 34,077 by

tarping off the upper deck. ... The A's issued 120 daily media

credentials for both the Friday and Saturday games. ... Oakland

avoided its first rainout since May 5, 1998, against Detroit though

wet weather was in the forecast all weekend in the Bay Area.