Bonds delivers fourth home run in two days

DENVER (AP) _ Barry Bonds' back is out of alignment. It doesn't seem to be affecting his swing.

Bonds homered for the fourth time in two games, and Russ Ortiz allowed four hits in eight innings and drove in two runs as the San
Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 9-1 on Wednesday night.

Bonds' back has been bothering him enough over the last few days that manager Dusty Baker had considered holding him out of Thursday's game against the Rockies.

But with the Giants just 2½ games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL wild card race and a potential strike looming, there's no
way Baker's going to keep Bonds out of the lineup.

"We've got an off day on Monday, so this isn't a tough stretch for us,'' said Baker, whose team has won four straight and eight of 10. "This is not another 20-in-a-row stretch for us, so we can try to pace things and try to space out the off days and put the best team on the field at the same time.''

Bonds homered in the first, his 39th, and just missed another in the fifth on a double that hit near the top of the wall in center. He was 3-for-4 before being taken out in the bottom of the seventh and finished a triple short of hitting for the cycle.

Bonds is 9-for-12 with five RBI in three games and is hitting .472 over his last 25.

"He puts the barrel on the ball every single time and if you put the barrel on it in this ballpark you've got a chance,'' Jennings said. "It wasn't one of his farthest home runs but it counts just the same as any other one.''

Jeff Kent homered for the third consecutive game, a solo shot to left off Colorado starter Jason Jennings (15-6) in the first inning. It was his 31st of the season.

Bonds followed by barely clearing the wall in left three pitches later. It was his fourth homer in five at-bats -- he walked in the third Tuesday night -- and his fifth consecutive hit.

It was the second time in as many games and fifth time this season Kent and Bonds homered in consecutive at-bats.

Pedro Feliz gave up an RBI single to Todd Zeile in the ninth, ruining what would have been the first shutout by a Rockies opponent at Coors Field this season.

It still amounted to the fifth consecutive loss for Colorado, which continues to struggle on offense.

The Rockies had just five hits and have scored just 14 runs during their longest home losing streak since dropping five in a row April 11-15.

"The offense was a concern in the last homestand. We haven't gotten a lot better this homestand,'' Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "We've had a few individuals come through and done some things. But the consistency from top to bottom hasn't been there. When you don't hit and you don't score runs everything else is magnified.''

Ortiz (9-10) had a lot to do with it.

He did a good job of working inside -- he broke four bats -- and
worked himself out of two tough spots in the middle innings.

Colorado had runners on second and third with no outs in the
fourth after a double by Larry Walker _ Colorado's first hit _ but
Ortiz struck out Todd Helton and Greg Norton, then got Jack Cust to
ground out.

He also struck out Walker looking with the bases loaded to end
the fifth.

Ortiz finished with a season-high eight strikeouts, and helped
himself with a run-scoring single in the fifth and a sacrifice fly
in the seventh that put the Giants up 9-0.

"Russ Ortiz threw a masterful game,'' Baker said. "He got out of some real tough jams there with some really good hitters, especially with Helton and Walker. You hate to see those guys up there with men on base, but Russ did a real good job.''

Jennings failed in his bid to become the first Colorado pitcher
to win six consecutive starts. He tied a career high by allowing
seven earned runs and gave up eight hits in 4 1-3 innings.

Jennings, who had allowed eight earned runs in his previous 33
2/3 innings, allowed more than four earned runs for the first time
in 11 starts. It was his first loss since he lost 5-1 to San Diego
on July 16.

"I knew I had my work cut out for me, but I just didn't have it tonight. Bottom line,'' Jennings said. "I threw the balls over the middle of the plate and up in the zone.''

San Francisco went up 4-0 in the second on a two-run double by
Kenny Lofton. The Giants got two more in the third on a groundout by Bonds and a solo homer by Benito Santiago.

Game notes
Kent has hit in nine straight games. ... Walker had his third error of the season in the third inning after losing Kent's flyball in the lights. ... Santiago's homer was his 14th of the
season. ... Jennings has hit six batters this season after plunking two Wednesday night. ... Jennings is 9-2 at Coors Field this season and remains one victory short of the franchise record for home victories in a season. Gabe White had 10 in 2000.