Bonds goes hitless, still at 713 HRs

May 14, 2006|By TIM BROWN | TIM BROWN,LOS ANGELES TIMES

SAN FRANCISCO -- Another afternoon slipped by, another 40,000 people sat down, and by the time the evening breeze brought the seagulls to scavenge AT&T Park's bleachers, Barry Bonds had made no progress on Babe Ruth.

Hitless in four plate appearances, still at Ruth's door, Bonds had packed his gear after eight innings. He was in the clubhouse after being replaced in left field for the ninth inning, presumably watching when his teammates went out on their four-run ninth inning to beat the Dodgers, 6-5.

For the moment, the pressing concern for the Giants is less Bonds' failure to catch Ruth, but the impact it has on their offense. Bonds' slump and Moises Alou's sprained ankle have left the Giants with middle-of-the-order issues, and they had lost nine times in 13 games before Dodgers closer Danys Baez took the ball in the ninth.

Manager Felipe Alou wrote Bonds into the third spot for the first time in three years, and hit Steve Finley fourth and Pedro Feliz fifth.

The immediate impact on Bonds was nominal. He struck out, lined to left field and walked against Dodgers starter Aaron Sele and grounded to first base against reliever Takashi Saito. Bonds is hitless in his past 13 at-bats, 1-for-17 since home run No. 713 and is batting .222 for the season.

In his fourth season as Giants manager, Alou said he and Bonds had their first comprehensive conversation about hitting yesterday morning. Alou arose assuming Bonds, limping on an arthritic right knee, would not play. When Alou arrived at the ballpark, however, Bonds was preparing for the game.

Bonds has played five consecutive games for only the second time this season, and is expected to play today. Bonds preferred to tie and pass Ruth at home, where the fans are generally supportive. After today's game, the Giants play their next six on the road in Houston and Oakland.

Tim Brown writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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