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Free Bonds goes deep in Giants win

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds did what he does best: step
into the batter's box, forget all the off-field distractions and
hit a baseball over the fence.

Bonds hit his 722nd career home run hours after the federal
grand jury considering possible perjury and tax-evasion charges
against him expired without an indictment, and the San Francisco
Giants beat the San Diego Padres 9-3 on Thursday night.

"Well, he's here," manager Felipe Alou said. "He's with us
and hitting home runs. There's a lot of stuff happening in this
world today, including Barry hitting one out of here. People had a
good time seeing him hit it."

Bonds' two-run shot started a string of three straight homers by
the Giants off reliever Brian Sweeney in the eighth inning. Ray
Durham hit the next pitch for his 16th homer, then Pedro Feliz
followed with another -- the first time since Aug. 3, 2004, against
Cincinnati, that the Giants hit three consecutive homers.

Sweeney became the 428th pitcher to surrender a homer to Bonds,
who got another chance in the at-bat after catcher Mike Piazza fell
down trying to catch a popup in foul territory and dropped the ball
for an error.

"That was a rough one for Sweeney," Padres manager Bruce Bochy
said. "We couldn't hold onto a foul popup. We made some mistakes
and they took advantage of it."

Bonds, who left the ballpark without talking to reporters, moved
within 33 home runs of tying Hank Aaron's all-time record of 755
with his 14th of the season. He has hit 84 homers in his career
against San Diego -- his most against any team. It was Bonds' second
home run since the All-Star break. He passed Babe Ruth for second
place on baseball's career list May 28.

The Giants were again unfazed by Bonds' legal issues, getting a
strong start from Noah Lowry and Chad Santos' first career home run
to move within 1½ games of the Padres in the NL West.

Bonds hit a sacrifice fly in a three-run fifth inning, struck
out and walked. The investigation into Bonds is still ongoing, but
it now appears less likely that an indictment would have an impact
on Bonds and the Giants this season.

Bonds, who turns 42 on Monday, received loud cheers in support
when the lineup was announced before the game.

Lowry (5-6), who has been struggling to find a groove after
missing a month with a strained side muscle, took a shutout into
the ninth inning before being replaced after Josh Barfield's RBI
single with one out. Dave Roberts added a two-run single off Kevin
Correia.

"I felt pretty good going into the ninth inning," Lowry said.
"In that last inning, I just didn't make the pitches and it cost
us a couple of runs. But it's a win and that's all that matters. Of
course I wanted to go out in that ninth inning and finish it, but
I'm just glad we won."

Lowry, who struck out a season-best six and threw a season-high
123 pitches, was charged with all three runs and won for second
time in three starts. It was his longest outing since Aug. 22,
2005, against Philadelphia, when he shut out the Phillies for 8 2/3
innings.

Randy Winn doubled twice, drove in a run and scored on a close
play at home after Omar Vizquel's suicide squeeze, the Giants'
second this season. San Francisco won its third straight, the
club's first three-game winning streak since July 1-3.

Khalil Greene had two hits for San Diego, which began an 11-game
road trip.

Santos, who had his own cheering section after his family flew
in from Hawaii, connected for a two-run homer with two outs in the
second with a shot to center following Todd Greene's single. It
came in Santos' fifth major league at-bat.

"I was praying I was in the lineup today," he said. "As soon
as I came in I was in the lineup and I couldn't have been
happier."

Chan Ho Park (6-6), winless in four of his last five starts,
went six innings, allowing five runs and five hits. He said Santos
hit one of his best pitches.

"It was exactly where I wanted to throw it, on the corner
outside," Park said. "He hit it pretty good and the ball
carried."

Game Notes
Roberts stole his 24th base. ... San Diego finished with 10
hits and has 81 in its last seven road games. ... Earlier Thursday,
Padres bench coach Tony Muser was suspended for one game and fined
by Major League Baseball for his actions during Sunday's game
against Atlanta. Muser and San Diego manager Bruce Bochy were
ejected in the sixth inning of the Padres' 10-5 loss for arguing
balls and strikes. Muser, who managed the Kansas City Royals from
1997-2002, is scheduled to serve his suspension Friday. ... The
Giants' other squeeze play this year was May 13 against the
Dodgers. ... The Giants sold out for the 13th time. ... Bonds and
Feliz were part of the three straight homers in 2004, along with
J.T. Snow.