Bonds one short of record


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds sat forward in his black
leather recliner, his chin perched on his right hand as he immersed
himself in another game in another sport.

For a short time, giving all his attention to the Sacramento
Kings' NBA playoff win over the Dallas Mavericks allowed the San
Francisco slugger to focus on something besides the Giants'
failures to win despite all his home runs.

Bonds homered in his seventh straight game Tuesday night to give
him 667 for his career, but the Giants found themselves with a
familiar result: a 9-5 loss to the San Diego Padres.

"It doesn't matter. We're losing," Bonds said when asked about
his feats. "(I'm) just sore, tired. It's age, that's all."

Bonds is one shy of matching the major league record for
consecutive games with a homer -- shared by Dale Long (1956), Don
Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993).

Bonds has homered in the last seven games in which he's had an
at-bat, but the defending NL West champions have lost four of
those. He had a pinch-hit walk last Wednesday, which does not stop
the streak under baseball's rules.

His ninth homer of the season, a two-run shot off Brian
Lawrence, bounced into McCovey Cove and a fan dived over the
railing and into the murky water to retrieve the ball. The homer
pulled the Giants within 6-2. Pedro Feliz connected two batters

That pitch from Lawrence -- a fastball left over the plate -- was
the only one Bonds got to hit.

"He swung the bat one time tonight and hit the ball out of the
park," Lawrence said. "In a different situation I don't give him
that pitch. I walk the guy and let him go to first."

How does Bonds do it when he gets so few chances?

"Talent," the six-time NL MVP said.

When he stepped on home plate, the slugger did his traditional
kiss of the hands and pointed at the sky. He then pointed right to
new Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp, dressed in a
Giants jacket and sitting only a few rows up, a little to the right
of home plate.

Bonds homered in six straight games twice during the 2001 season
when he set the season record of 73 homers. He did it from April
12-18 and again from May 17-22.

He has hit eight homers during this seven-game stretch, an NL
record for the most in seven games. Mattingly holds the
major-league record with nine in seven games during his streak.

"It's unusual that a guy is hitting the ball like that -- seven
consecutive games with a home run -- and we're losing the games,"
Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "Those factors don't go together
very often. Usually, you're winning those games. It's really,
really strange."

Yet Bonds isn't too worried about San Francisco's struggles. The
Giants, who won 100 games last season, are 6-8.

"We can get on a hot streak real fast," Bonds said.

Bonds, who walked three times, took most of the attention away
from an impressive offensive night by the Padres.

With two outs in the seventh, Bonds was intentionally walked
with a runner on second and the Giants trailing by two runs.

Brian Giles hit a two-run homer, and Sean Burroughs had two
doubles among his four hits and drove in two runs for San Diego.

Giles connected to right on the first pitch he saw in the first
inning from Dustin Hermanson (1-1), tagged for four hits and three
runs in the inning. It was Giles' first homer this season.

Before the game, Padres manager Bruce Bochy reiterated San Diego
planned to pitch to Bonds in certain situations, saying, "Where
would this game be if we didn't pitch to Babe Ruth?"

"It's remarkable," Bochy said afterward. "He makes it look
easy. You don't get away with anything with him. He's just that
good. He's in a zone. It's tough to pitch to him."

Lawrence (2-1) earned his first win against the Giants in eight
career starts. He gave up four runs on seven hits in five innings,
struck out four and walked three.

Hermanson allowed only two earned runs in 11 2-3 innings during
his first two outings.

But he never found a rhythm against a Padres lineup that
clobbered a season-high 15 hits. Hermanson gave way to Brian Cooper
after 3 2-3 innings and was booed as he walked into the dugout with
his head down. He allowed six runs on nine hits, struck out two and
walked two.

"It was a rough night, a bad outing," Hermanson said. "I
couldn't locate my pitches tonight at all."

The Giants hit into four double plays and lead the majors with

Game notes
Hermanson appeared in his 250th major league game, his
165th start. ... Giles' brother, Marcus, also homered Tuesday -- a
two-run shot for the Atlanta Braves in their 3-2 loss at
Cincinnati. ... The Padres' previous best was 14 hits, which came
against the Giants on April 10 in San Diego. ... Burroughs raised
his average to .381.