SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds never doubted he would hit a
home run within a few days of his season debut.
He needed 11 at-bats after a season-long layoff to hit No. 704.
Bonds moved one homer closer to Hank Aaron's record of 755 with
a solo shot Friday night in the slugger's fourth start of the year,
and Todd Linden singled in the winning run with one out in the
ninth to lead the San Francisco Giants over the Los Angeles Dodgers
"It's good when you win. It just makes it a little more
gratifying, that's all it does," Bonds said. "I can hit a
baseball. I've never had any problems doing that. I'm trying to do
it when we win games."
Bonds, who missed most of the year recovering from three
operations on his right knee since Jan. 31, sent a 1-0 curveball
from Los Angeles starter Brad Penny into the seats in right-center
in the first inning.
Pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee hit a tying two-run single in the
eighth for the Dodgers, but Linden replaced Bonds and came up with
a clutch broken-bat base hit to right off Duaner Sanchez (4-6) that
scored pinch-runner Doug Clark from second. Clark ran for Edgardo
Alfonzo, who drew a leadoff walk.
"I lost the game by walking the guy, but I don't know how he
hit that ball," Sanchez said.
Armando Benitez (2-2) pitched the ninth for the win and Omar
Vizquel added a two-run double for the Giants.
It was the 41-year-old Bonds' first home run since a solo shot
Sept. 26 last year against the Dodgers' Jeff Weaver, a span of 355
days. When Bonds made contact, flashbulbs flickered from all
directions and fans instantly jumped to their feet in SBC Park and
Bonds is third on the career list, trailing only Babe Ruth (714)
and Aaron. His homer gave the Giants a 2-0 lead and came three
batters after Randy Winn led off with his career-high 15th home
He's not ready to start thinking about passing Ruth.
"I'm not worried about that right now," Bonds said. "If I can
keep playing, it'll happen. If I don't, it won't happen."
Bonds' first RBI of the season also moved him into a ninth-place
tie on the career list with Carl Yastrzemski with 1,844.
"It was a curveball, a stupid pitch," Penny said. "He hasn't
proven he can hit a fastball yet."
Bonds hit a high popup to shortstop Oscar Robles in the fourth,
then drew his first intentional walk of the year in the fifth with
Vizquel on second following a two-run double. Fans waved their
rubber chickens as is custom whenever Bonds gets a free pass -- he
drew a major league-record 232 walks in 2004.
Bonds popped out foul to the catcher leading off the eighth with
the game tied at 4, then Linden replaced him in left field.
Bonds returned to the Giants' starting lineup Monday in the
opener of a three-game series against San Diego. He is expected to
take Saturday's game off because it's a day game that follows a
"We have to respect the fact he's playing all those innings and
getting all those at-bats," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "We
believe he's going to hit one every time up."
Winn hit his second leadoff homer since joining the Giants on
July 30 in a trade from Seattle. He also hit a leadoff shot last
Thursday against the Chicago Cubs. This was the seventh leadoff
homer of his career.
Winn, who hit for the cycle once this year, also doubled and
"It's a tough game to lose after the manner in which we came
back," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "One of the first things
to stave off on the road is a leadoff walk in the bottom of the
ninth. More often than not, it comes back to haunt you, and it
Vizquel lined a double off the wall in right in the bottom of
the fifth, but the bullpen blew it and Tomko's winless stretch
reached eight starts. The right-hander pitched 6 2/3 solid innings
but hasn't won since July 22 against Florida. He allowed eight
hits, struck out six and walked one.
Willy Aybar, Hee-Seop Choi, Jeff Kent and Dioner Navarro each
had two hits for Los Angeles, which fell back into a second-place
tie with San Francisco, 5˝ games behind San Diego, which lost 5-1
RHP Yhency Brazoban made his 67th appearance to tie the
Dodgers' rookie record. ... Winn hit 14 homers last season with
Seattle and also in 2002 for Tampa Bay. ... Giants RHP Jason
Schmidt is penciled in to start Saturday, though he's still nursing
a pulled right groin. "I think he can make it based on what he's
done," trainer Stan Conte said. "If he feels comfortable, I feel
comfortable." ... Dodgers SS Cesar Izturis underwent Tommy John
surgery on his troublesome right elbow, and the team hopes he will
return at the All-Star break in 2006. ... Ledee didn't start for
the second straight game with a hurt left hamstring and 1B Olmedo
Saenz sat out with a strained left oblique muscle. ... The Giants
will hand out "I Was There" Bonds pins to all fans with a ticket
stub for each homer he hits for the rest of his career at home. ...
Giants OF Jason Ellison returned to the starting lineup for the
first time since Aug. 31 after healing his strained left oblique.