Wednesday, September 05, 2001

Bonds hits No. 59




        SAN FRANCISCO — While it might have captured the fans' attention, 59 is not that big of a number to Barry Bonds.

        “I've hit 30 or 40 homers throughout my career,” he said. “It's been pretty much consistent. This year I've just hit a few more.”

        Bonds hit his major league-leading 59th home run as the San Francisco Giants beat the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 Tuesday night. Rich Aurilia homered twice.

        Bonds would rather that all the attention go to the pennant race, not his pursuit of the career home run title.

        With the win, the Giants moved to within 1 1/2 games of NL West-leading Arizona, which has lost four straight. San Francisco also moved within a half-game of the Chicago Cubs for the NL wild card lead.

        “You've got some excitement in National League baseball right now, and you've got it all over, from East to West,” Bonds said.

        Aurilia broke a 2-all tie with a two-run homer in the seventh off Miguel Batista after pinch-hitter Eric Davis doubled off Greg Swindell (2-3).

        Aurilia, who also homered in the fifth inning, was called out for a curtain call by the sold-out crowd at Pacific Bell Park. He was just heading down the dugout steps when Bonds hit his 553rd career homer, a drive that barely cleared the center-field fence.

        “To get a couple of home runs to put us in the lead, that was big,” Aurilia said. “Then for Barry to come up and hit another one, that was bigger.”

        It was the sixth time the Giants had his back-to-back home runs this season and the third time Bonds has homered after Aurilia.

        Bonds hit No. 59 in the Giants' 139th game, one game faster than Sammy Sosa's pace in 1999. Mark McGwire reached 59 in 140th game in 1998, the year he hit a record 70.

        It was Bonds' second home run in as many days. He hit a solo shot off Colorado's Jason Jennings in a 4-1 loss Monday. It was the sixth time this season the Giants have hit back-to-back home runs.

        Bonds finished 2-for-2 with two walks.

        Batista was pragmatic about giving up the back-to-back home runs.

        “I didn't want to walk Aurilia and face Barry with the bases loaded. I challenged him to swing the bat and he did,” Batista said. “Those two guys make adjustments, that's why they're the best of the best.”

       



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