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Bonds' second homer the game-winner

8/17/2001

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- For most of his career, Barry Bonds thought
he would never touch the home run totals of Willie Mays, his
godfather and hero.

Now that Bonds has passed Mays to become a giant among Giants,
nothing seems impossible any more.

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Bonds hit two home runs, breaking Mays' Giants season home run
record and boosting his major league-leading total to 53 as he led
San Francisco over the Florida Marlins 5-3 Thursday.

"I'm accomplishing things I never thought I could do," Bonds
said. "I was surprised by (hitting) 50 homers, because I had never
done it. When I had 39 at the All-Star break, I was surprised. I
just hope I can carry it on all the way through."

When Bonds next speaks to Mays, who hit 52 homers for the Giants
in 1965, he'll have a private message.

"He'll probably call to congratulate me, and I'll have to say
something like, 'I gotcha,"' Bonds said.

Bonds hit a solo homer in the fourth, then put the Giants in
front with a three-run drive in the eighth.

His latest step on the fastest home run pace in baseball history
was one of the most impressive days yet in his magical season. With
41 games left in San Francisco's season, he is 17 homers short of
Mark McGwire's record.

Bonds' first homer also broke the NL record for left-handed
hitters, set by Johnny Mize with the New York Giants in 1947.

For one of the few times during the Giants' three impressive
weeks, Bonds carried his teammates to a victory. Most times this
season, Bonds has been only one of many contributors to the Giants'
potent offense.

"This is a time when you have to excel," Bonds said. "The
finish line is getting closer and closer."

San Francisco, leading the NL wild card race, won for the 17th
time in 20 games and moved within a half-game of idle Arizona, the
NL West leader.

A.J. Burnett (8-9) allowed just two hits over the first seven
innings, but pinch-hitter Pedro Feliz led off the eighth with a
double, and Marvin Benard drove him home.

Rich Aurilia then singled, and the Marlins brought in Vic
Darensbourg to face Bonds. After having words with umpire Mike
Winters over a called strike, Bonds crushed Darensbourg's next
pitch, then momentarily stood in the batter's box to watch as the
ball soared over the fence in one of Pacific Bell Park's deepest
parts.

Marlins manager Tony Perez thought he had the right pitcher in
the game to face Bonds, who was 1-for-7 with three strikeouts
against Darensbourg.

"Most of the time it works, but the way we're going, nothing
works," Perez said.

Bonds, who said he only hoped to move the runners along before
Darensbourg fed him an inside fastball, rounded the bases to a
ground-shaking ovation, then stepped out of the dugout for a
curtain call.

"Lately, they all seem to be clutch homers, putting us back in
a game or putting us ahead," Aurilia said of Bonds. "If he keeps
going at this pace, he's probably not going to get that many
pitches to hit."

Bonds' prowess got a victory for Tim Worrell (2-2), even though
the right-hander allowed Alex Gonzalez's a tiebreaking two-run
single in the seventh inning and barely escaped a bases-loaded jam
in the eighth.

Robb Nen walked the leadoff batter in the ninth but finished
strong for his 35th save in 41 chances. Bonds made a tough catch
with the sun in his eyes in left for the second out of the ninth.

Bonds' first homer, a solo shot, barely reached the top of the
elevated fence that separates the park from McCovey Cove. The crowd
gave Bonds a standing ovation as he rounded the bases, and another
ovation when he took the field in the fifth inning.

"You just try to go after him with your best stuff," Burnett
said of Bonds. "He's definitely got a shot at the record."

San Francisco averaged eight runs a game during a streak that
ended Tuesday night, but the Marlins shut down the Giants in the
final two games of their series -- until Bonds' heroics.

Derrek Lee had three hits and scored two runs as Florida lost
its fourth straight.

Shawn Estes had one of the better starts in the slumping
left-hander's last two months, allowing six hits and striking out
three.

But Estes got into big trouble in the seventh, when Jeff
Abbott's double put runners at second and third. Estes got two
quick outs, but after he walked Dave Berg to load the bases, he was
replaced by Worrell.

Gonzalez, who entered in a 2-for-25 slump and had driven in just
one run in August, blooped Worrell's first pitch into right,
scoring two runs.

Abbott also had a run-scoring single in the fourth.

Game notes
McGwire hit 47 homers in the Cardinals' first 121 games in
1998 on his way to 70. ... LF Kevin Millar had an adventure on J.T.
Snow's routine fly ball in the seventh. Blinded by the sun, Millar
came in, scrambled back, drifted to his left and eventually stabbed
the ball while falling onto his back. ... Snow had been hitting
.500 since returning from the DL last week, but he went 0-for-4.