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Bonds hits 11th homer; Giants win seventh straight

5/10/2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dusty Baker thinks pitchers are deliberately
throwing at Barry Bonds.

"It makes you wonder, like the old days, if there was a
bounty," the San Francisco Giants manager said after Bonds homered
Thursday night during a 4-3 victory over the New York Mets.

Pedro Astacio's next pitch to the star slugger sailed over his
head.

"That was the third or fourth ball that was thrown at his
head," Baker said. "That may have been worse than Gabe White's
last month."

White was fined $750 for throwing a fastball over Bonds' head on
April 27. The Cincinnati reliever has appealed, saying the pitch
was not intentionally directed at Bonds.

Bonds was at the center of controversy. He was called out on
strikes by plate umpire Dan Iassogna in the first inning, homered
in the fourth to start San Francisco's comeback from a 3-0 deficit,
walked on four pitches in the sixth, then was called out on strikes
in the eighth.

Walking back to the dugout, he said something to Iassogna and
was ejected for the first time since Aug. 2, 1998, when he was hit
by a pitch from Philadelphia's Ricky Bottalico after going 4-for-4,
then charged the mound.

Neither Bonds nor Iassogna would discuss what was said. After
Astacio's pitch over Bonds in the fourth, Iassogna warned both
teams that another pitch close to a batter's head would result in
an ejection. Baker thought an ejection for that pitch was
warranted.

"I felt it was absolutely proper to put a warning in,"
Iassogna said. "I don't want any retaliation."

Astacio (5-2) denied headhunting.

"No message was being sent. It was just high and tight," he
said. "Bonds crowds the plate."

Bonds, who homered in Tuesday's series opener, was grazed in the
chest by a pitch from Shawn Estes on Wednesday. When asked if
Astacio's pitch was deliberate, Bonds responded: "Who cares?"

A season after hitting a record 73 homers, Bonds has walked a
major league-leading 45 times and been hit five times. He wouldn't
discuss if pitchers are throwing at him.

"There's been a little bit of a pattern, but I just play the
game," he said.

San Francisco, which completed a three-game sweep, has won seven
in row, its best spurt since taking nine in a row last July 25 to
Aug. 3. At 22-11, the Giants are off to their best start since
1973.

"We're still not playing great," Baker said, "but we win."

After Mo Vaughn's long first-inning homer off the right-field
scoreboard and Rey Ordonez's squeeze bunt in the second, the Mets
showed little life against Ryan Jensen (3-2), who combined with
Felix Rodriguez and Robb Nen on a four-hitter.

New York, which had one hit after the second inning, has lost a
season-high five in a row.

Before the game, Mets team captain John Franco said he hasn't
decided whether to have surgery to replace the torn ligament in his
left elbow, an injury diagnosed Wednesday. The operation requires
at least one year of recovery. Without it, the career of the
41-year-old reliever is over.

"Everybody is upset for Johnny," Jay Payton said.

Jensen allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings,
Rodriguez pitched the eighth and Nen got his 10th save in 11
chances, helping the Giants complete their first sweep at New York
since April 1997.

New York went ahead in the first on Vaughn's second homer of the
season. Vaughn, who had been homerless in 64 at-bats, hit a two-run
drive that hit 10-15 feet up from the bottom of the scoreboard, a
ball estimated to have traveled 449 feet.

With the Giants trailing 3-0 in the fourth, Bonds hit his 11th
home run of the season, an opposite-field shot to left-center. He
has homered in three of five games since an 11-game homerless
streak that lasted 32 at-bats. With 578 homers, he has moved within
five of Mark McGwire for fifth on the career list.

Pedro Feliz tied it with a two-run drive through the fog later
in the inning, his first in 53-bats since last Sept. 7 at Colorado.
During Feliz's homerless streak, Bonds hit 24.

San Francisco went ahead in the sixth on J.T. Snow's sacrifice
fly off Astacio. Rich Aurilia singled leading off, then came the
pitch over Bonds' head.

"I don't get intimidated easy," Bonds said, "by no man."

Game notes
The game began 18 minutes late because the tarp was out for
expected rain that never arrived. ... Mets C Mike Piazza was back
in the starting lineup after missing Wednesday night's game because
of a sore left elbow, which he bruised Tuesday. He went 0-for-4, as
did Roger Cedeno, moved back to the leadoff spot for the first time
since April 24. After the game, Piazza filmed a scene in the
ballpark with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant for the film "Two
Weeks Notice." ... Vaughn's other homer this year was on April 3,
the second game of the season. ... The Giants began 1973 at 23-10.