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Bonds' bat not mighty enough to slug Giants past Rockies

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds hit one ball over the fence and
another almost through it. This time, the San Francisco slugger's
feats weren't enough.

Bonds had three RBI, yet the Giants lost ground in the playoff
races with a 9-8 defeat to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.

Bonds homered in the ninth to pull the Giants within a run, and
it appeared Todd Greene's high fly might have enough to be the
game-winner.

Then the Rockies denied the Giants with another fine defensive
play. Right fielder Brad Hawpe robbed Greene -- certain he had a hit
-- with a nice running catch at the warning track.

"That's spectacular," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "I
don't know if we have another guy who could make that play."

Bonds hit his 732nd career home run and 24th this season leading
off the ninth, moving the slugger within 23 of tying home run king
Hank Aaron's record 755 and one shy of matching Aaron's National
League record. Bonds connected against Brian Fuentes for the second
time.

Bonds also hit a crazy ground-rule double for San Francisco,
which dropped into third place in the NL wild-card race 2½ games
behind San Diego and one behind the Philadelphia Phillies. The
Giants are four back of the first-place Dodgers in the NL West.

Stepping in to chants of "Barry! Barry!" Bonds lined a shot to
right field in the bottom of the fifth that got stuck in a screened
part of the wall. The ball became lodged above the reach of Jeff
Baker, near an area where fans can watch from outside the ballpark,
and resulted in a two-run, ground-rule double.

It was Bonds' 584th career double, moving the slugger past Robin
Yount and into sole possession of 15th place on the all-time list.

Despite Bonds' efforts, the Giants couldn't overcome the Rockies
seven-run fifth inning that helped Jason Jennings win for the first
time in more than six weeks. Hawpe's catch with two runners on
preserved the lead and got Fuentes his 26th save in 31 chances.

Jennings (8-12) ended a seven-start winless stretch in which he
had dropped his last three decisions since beating the Padres on
July 30. He also reached the 200-innings mark for the second time
in his career -- a feat accomplished only eight other times in
franchise history.

"I'll take it at this point," Jennings said. "I've had some
tough losses."

Jennings, who had four straight no-decisions against San
Francisco since beating the Giants on June 5, 2004, at Coors Field,
allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, struck out three
and walked two. Closer Fuentes threw a wild pitch on his first
offering to advance runners to second and third before recovering
to get Shea Hillenbrand on a flyout for the third out in the
eighth.

With the game tied at 1 in the fifth, the Rockies scored seven
runs. Jamey Carroll had an RBI single and Todd Helton walked to
chase Noah Lowry (7-9). After a wild pitch scored Jennings, Baker
hit a two-run single that made it 5-1.

"We couldn't stop it," San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said.

Chris Iannetta walked for the second time in the inning to bring
home another run, then Choo Freeman singled before Jennings
grounded out. The seven runs tied the Rockies' most in one inning
this year, the third time they've done it.

"We haven't had trouble throwing strikes for a while," Greene
said. "The strike zone just left us that inning and they made us
pay for it."

After Greene's one-out double in the bottom half of the inning,
Scott Munter doubled him home for the pitcher's first major league
hit in his first career at-bat.

Lowry, pitching for the first time since missing a start with
elbow irritation, lost his second straight start, going only 4 1/3
innings after lasting just five innings in his previous outing. He
hasn't beaten the Rockies in five starts since a 13-6 victory on
April 15, 2005.

Giants ace Jason Schmidt was undergoing treatment on his upper
back after the game and his start Friday in St. Louis was in
question.

San Francisco second baseman Ray Durham bruised his right hip on
a headfirst slide and was day-to-day.<

Game notes
Jennings also pitched 200 innings in 2004. ... San Francisco
announced before the game that closer Armando Benitez is done for
the season because of inflammation in his right knee. ... The
Giants' Mark Sweeney had a pinch-hit single in the seventh for No.
139 of his career, tying him for fifth on the all-time list with
Dave Hansen. ... Bonds has hit 53 homers in the ninth inning. ...
Fuentes is 9-for-9 in save opportunities against the Giants,
converting all five this year.