<
>

Athletics 8, Giants 5

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Barry Bonds is swinging as if he's ready to go right after Hank Aaron's home run record.

His stroke is on -- so bring on the chase.

Bonds homered in his only two at-bats Sunday in the San Francisco Giants' last exhibition game, an 8-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics.

"Unreal," said Giants starter Noah Lowry, who worked three innings in his final tuneup. "The guy, he just looks healthy. When he's healthy, the results take care of themselves. Hopefully he can stay healthy all year and we get to see history in the making."

Bonds hit a two-run shot over the right-field fence with one out in the first inning off left-hander Joe Kennedy, then connected again for a towering solo homer to left-center with one out in the third against Kennedy.

The homers gave the 42-year-old slugger, who didn't play Saturday against the A's, seven homers in 18 spring games. Bonds begins the 2007 season, his 22nd in the majors and 15th with the Giants, needing only 22 homers to break Hank Aaron's career record of 755.

"He seems locked in and confident," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "That's usually a dangerous combo. I think he really feels good about his physical shape and how far he's come from last year."

San Francisco opens the season at home Tuesday against the two-time reigning NL West champion San Diego Padres, and the A's were headed to Seattle for Monday's opener against the Mariners.

New Giants leadoff hitter Dave Roberts tripled and singled and also crashed hard into the wall in center trying to make a play on Bobby Kielty's second-inning double. Roberts hit his triple after that, but came out of the game as a precaution and will have treatment on his tender left shoulder during Monday's off day.

"It's sore," Roberts said. "I don't think there should be much concern."

Everybody around the Giants is eager to see the 42-year-old Bonds, who will bat third starting out in 2007, begin his quest for Hammerin' Hank's mark. He has hit 85 of his 734 homers -- Bonds' most against any team -- against the Padres, new manager Bruce Bochy's former club.

"He came into spring training ready from the start," Bochy said. "He feels great. His legs feel great. He's swinging great. He's comfortable at the plate. He's ready to go. ... Those are great at-bats. He's your go-to guy."

A's manager Bob Geren announced his lineup for Monday: catcher Jason Kendall, left fielder Shannon Stewart, center fielder Milton Bradley, DH Mike Piazza, third baseman Eric Chavez, first baseman Nick Swisher, shortstop Bobby Crosby, right fielder Travis Buck, and second baseman Mark Ellis.

Game notes
Giants No. 5 starter Russ Ortiz pitched 8 1-3 innings in a minor league start in Scottsdale, Ariz., to stay on turn. He allowed two runs on five hits, struck out four and walked one in a 102-pitch day against a Giants' Double-A lineup. ... Kielty went 3-for-3 and appears healthy after arthroscopic surgery on his left knee March 2. ... San Francisco 1B Rich Aurilia is pleased with how his strained right groin has healed and deemed himself healthy. "The best thing I did was hit two groundballs so they could see I can run," he said. ... A's minor leaguer Danny Putman, a product of Stanford, had two hits for the A's playing in place of Buck, who got the day off to rest.