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Bonds pulls within one of Aaron's all-time mark with 754th career homer

Chasing Aaron: With the first-inning blast, Bonds is just one homer shy of tying Hank Aaron's all-time mark of 755.

Quotable: "It's sinking." -- Bonds on whether being on the verge of catching Aaron had finally
sunk in

Figure this: Vanden Hurk becomes the 444th different pitcher to give up a Bonds' homer.

Yard work: San Francisco matched a season high with four homers.

-- ESPN.com news services

Giants 12, Marlins 10

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds could only chuckle when asked
if it had finally sunk in that he's a single swing from history.

"It's sinking," he said.

Bonds hit a soaring drive for his 754th home run Friday night,
leaving him one shy of tying Hank Aaron's record.

Hammerin' Hank, he's right behind you now.

Bonds sent a 2-1 pitch from rookie Rick Vanden Hurk over the
wall in left-center in the first inning for a solo shot in the San
Francisco Giants 12-10 win over the Florida Marlins.

Bonds walked in his next four plate appearances and will keep up
his pursuit Saturday night, when Dontrelle Willis starts for the

"Tonight was a great night," Bonds said, joined in his
postgame news conference by wife, Liz, daughter, Aisha, and son,
Nikolai. "The ball was just carrying."

Bud Selig wasn't there to see this homer, sending MLB president
and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy in his place. The
commissioner was back in Milwaukee, preparing to go to Sunday's
Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Bonds did hear from Michael Jordan, though. A taped message from
the NBA great played on AT&T Park's video board between innings.

"It was great seeing the board, and having Michael Jordan say
what he said was phenomenal," Bonds said.

After a brief pause to put specially marked baseballs in play,
Bonds had drawn ball one and ball two -- with boos raining down on
Vanden Hurk -- before a called first strike. Then, the 84 mph
changeup was gone -- a drive estimated at 420 feet.

"I wanted to throw it down and I left it hanging up and he hit
out," Vanden Hurk said. "I knew he got real good wood on it. I
knew when I let it go I didn't bury it or finish it all the way. I
just left it up. If a pitch is up, you're going to get hurt,

As usual, Bonds stood and watched his ball sail away, then began
yet another trot and pumped his fist along the way. "754" flashed
on the main scoreboard, and Bonds blew kisses to his family when he
crossed home. Then, Bonds hugged hitting coach Joe Lefebvre in the
dugout. Lefebvre has been working closely with the 43-year-old
slugger during his recent struggles.

"I wasn't caught up in the moment," Bonds said. "Yesterday I
sat around and studied my films. There was things that I got away

Fans, already on their feet for Bonds' first at-bat, screamed in
delight when it was clear he had homered _ Bonds' first at home
since he connected for No. 750 on June 29 against Arizona's Livan
Hernandez. "Barry! Barry!" they chanted as he rounded the bases.

"He knew he got it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "After
that he didn't get many pitches to hit."

Hundreds of fans held their cell phones in the air to take
pictures after Bonds' home run and during each of his other plate
appearances. They booed when he drew the walks.

"The only thing different was he was just trying to throw his
arm out of socket," Bonds said. "His velocity went from one
extreme to another on my next at-bats."

The fan who retrieved No. 754 was Eric Stormer, a general
contractor and season ticketholder from nearby Martinez.

In his first chance to tie Aaron, Bonds walked on five pitches
in the third inning. He also walked in the fifth, sixth and eighth

Home is certainly where his heart is. Bonds has hit many of his
milestone homers here -- Nos. 500, 600 and 700 along with 660 and
661 to tie and pass his godfather, Hall of Famer Willie Mays. This
is also where he hit 715 last May 28 to pass Babe Ruth for second
place on the career list. No. 714 came across San Francisco Bay in

In 2001, Bonds hit the final three of his 73 homers at home,
breaking Mark McGwire's season record of 70.

Can he set the mark this weekend?
"I'll try, if they cooperate," Bonds said.

The Giants go on the road starting Tuesday night against rival
Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium.

Bonds had gone homerless in five games and 18 at-bats since
hitting two against the Chicago Cubs on July 19 at Wrigley Field.
He had been 3-for-18 since his previous homer, but said he didn't
think he was overswinging.

"What's he's done is unreal," Marlins first baseman Mike Jacobs said. "I know everyone talks about A-Rod having a chance
one day to do this, but until that days comes, Barry Bonds is by
far the best hitter I think that's ever played this game."

Bonds has said he's a bit distracted when the commemorative
balls are worked in for each of his plate appearances.
"When they stop it for a second and switch baseballs, it's very
hard to not know something's happening right in front of you,"
Bonds said after his two-homer game in Chicago.
The seven-time NL MVP went out to his spot in left field in the
top of the second with fans pounding the outfield fence in
celebration. Bonds turned to acknowledge them with a wave of his
A "Road to History" tribute played on the main center-field
scoreboard with the greeting from Jordan.

"Hey Barry, it's Michael Jordan," his message said. "I just
want to congratulate you on your historic event. I'm very happy for
you. Ever since the first day I saw you in the batting cage, you've
been working toward this for a long period of time. So I want to
wish you and Elizabeth and that beautiful girl of yours
congratulations. I'm very happy for you."

The Giants finally won a game in which Bonds homered, their
first since June 11 against Toronto.

"It felt good, real good," Bonds said. "The win felt better,
a lot better."

Selig is scheduled to be in Los Angeles starting Tuesday. Aaron
has said he won't be there when his 33-year-old record falls.

Game notes
The Giants tied a season high with four home runs,
including Ray Durham's tiebreaking two-run shot off Renyel Pinto
(2-4) that gave San Francisco a 9-7 lead. ... Pedro Feliz and
Bengie Molina hit back-to-back shots in the fifth off Vanden Hurk.
... Cody Ross and Hanley Ramirez homered for Florida. "It was like
a football game out there," Bonds said. "I don't think I've ever
seen that many home runs hit in this ballpark." ... Vinnie Chulk
(4-2) retired the final two batters of the sixth to earn the win.