Free Bonds goes deep in Giants win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds did what he does best: step

into the batter's box, forget all the off-field distractions and

hit a baseball over the fence.

Bonds hit his 722nd career home run hours after the federal

grand jury considering possible perjury and tax-evasion charges

against him expired without an indictment, and the San Francisco

Giants beat the San Diego Padres 9-3 on Thursday night.

"Well, he's here," manager Felipe Alou said. "He's with us

and hitting home runs. There's a lot of stuff happening in this

world today, including Barry hitting one out of here. People had a

good time seeing him hit it."

Bonds' two-run shot started a string of three straight homers by

the Giants off reliever Brian Sweeney in the eighth inning. Ray

Durham hit the next pitch for his 16th homer, then Pedro Feliz

followed with another -- the first time since Aug. 3, 2004, against

Cincinnati, that the Giants hit three consecutive homers.

Sweeney became the 428th pitcher to surrender a homer to Bonds,

who got another chance in the at-bat after catcher Mike Piazza fell

down trying to catch a popup in foul territory and dropped the ball

for an error.

"That was a rough one for Sweeney," Padres manager Bruce Bochy

said. "We couldn't hold onto a foul popup. We made some mistakes

and they took advantage of it."

Bonds, who left the ballpark without talking to reporters, moved

within 33 home runs of tying Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755

with his 14th of the season. He has hit 84 homers in his career

against San Diego -- his most against any team. It was Bonds' second

home run since the All-Star break. He passed Babe Ruth for second

place on baseball's career list May 28.

The Giants were again unfazed by Bonds' legal issues, getting a

strong start from Noah Lowry and Chad Santos' first career home run

to move within 1½ games of the Padres in the NL West.

Bonds hit a sacrifice fly in a three-run fifth inning, struck

out and walked. The investigation into Bonds is still ongoing, but

it now appears less likely that an indictment would have an impact

on Bonds and the Giants this season.

Bonds, who turns 42 on Monday, received loud cheers in support

when the lineup was announced before the game.

Lowry (5-6), who has been struggling to find a groove after

missing a month with a strained side muscle, took a shutout into

the ninth inning before being replaced after Josh Barfield's RBI

single with one out. Dave Roberts added a two-run single off Kevin


"I felt pretty good going into the ninth inning," Lowry said.

"In that last inning, I just didn't make the pitches and it cost

us a couple of runs. But it's a win and that's all that matters. Of

course I wanted to go out in that ninth inning and finish it, but

I'm just glad we won."

Lowry, who struck out a season-best six and threw a season-high

123 pitches, was charged with all three runs and won for second

time in three starts. It was his longest outing since Aug. 22,

2005, against Philadelphia, when he shut out the Phillies for 8 2/3


Randy Winn doubled twice, drove in a run and scored on a close

play at home after Omar Vizquel's suicide squeeze, the Giants'

second this season. San Francisco won its third straight, the

club's first three-game winning streak since July 1-3.

Khalil Greene had two hits for San Diego, which began an 11-game

road trip.

Santos, who had his own cheering section after his family flew

in from Hawaii, connected for a two-run homer with two outs in the

second with a shot to center following Todd Greene's single. It

came in Santos' fifth major league at-bat.

"I was praying I was in the lineup today," he said. "As soon

as I came in I was in the lineup and I couldn't have been


Chan Ho Park (6-6), winless in four of his last five starts,

went six innings, allowing five runs and five hits. He said Santos

hit one of his best pitches.

"It was exactly where I wanted to throw it, on the corner

outside," Park said. "He hit it pretty good and the ball


Game Notes
Roberts stole his 24th base. ... San Diego finished with 10

hits and has 81 in its last seven road games. ... Earlier Thursday,

Padres bench coach Tony Muser was suspended for one game and fined

by Major League Baseball for his actions during Sunday's game

against Atlanta. Muser and San Diego manager Bruce Bochy were

ejected in the sixth inning of the Padres' 10-5 loss for arguing

balls and strikes. Muser, who managed the Kansas City Royals from

1997-2002, is scheduled to serve his suspension Friday. ... The

Giants' other squeeze play this year was May 13 against the

Dodgers. ... The Giants sold out for the 13th time. ... Bonds and

Feliz were part of the three straight homers in 2004, along with

J.T. Snow.