SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds strolled out of the clubhouse
after hardly taking a swing and hardly uttering a word, his
personal videographer and teenage son on his trail.
Three games into the season, no home runs. Then again, he didn't
have many chances.
Bonds drew his first two intentional walks of the season, struck
out and grounded weakly to first Thursday in the San Francisco
Giants' home opener, a 6-4 win over the Atlanta Braves.
Bonds saw all of eight pitches to hit, and 14 total. He didn't
get the ball out of the infield.
"Go get iced up," he said, making his way through the crowded
room to the trainer's table. He didn't address close to 50 media
members surrounding his corner locker.
"The guys who are hitting behind Barry are going to be a little
busy," the Giants' Omar Vizquel said.
Bonds, who made one catch in left field, stepped into the
batter's box in the bottom of the first inning to roaring cheers
and a standing ovation from his hometown fans. Then came the boos --
but this time they weren't directed toward the embattled star.
Atlanta catcher Brian McCann stuck out his glove calling for an
intentional walk, and Bonds casually headed to first and out came
the rubber chickens for the first time. It paid off for the Braves
when Moises Alou grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Then in the third, Bonds came up to chants of "Barry! Barry!"
with Durham on first after his single tied the game at 2.
With a 2-0 count following two inside pitches by Jorge Sosa
(0-1), Braves manager Bobby Cox called for another free pass. This
time, Alou singled in the go-ahead run to make it 3-2.
"That's going to be very important," Alou said. "I didn't
come through the first time. I was hoping to get another
opportunity and I got a base hit to start the rally. ... We have to
do that a lot this year to take the pressure off Barry."
The 41-year-old Bonds, third on the home run list with 708 and
seven from passing Babe Ruth, already has three walks this season.
The seven-time NL MVP is facing more steroids scrutiny than ever
after last month's release of "Game of Shadows," a book detailing
Bonds' alleged longtime regimen for using performance-enhancing
But they still love him in San Francisco's ballpark by the bay.
Bonds' son, Nikolai, and Hall of Famers Orlando Cepeda, Willie
McCovey and Willie Mays -- Bonds' godfather -- were on hand for the
festivities. The slugger's daughter, Aisha, stood on her seat in
the stands several rows up from the field and smiled and clapped
when Bonds was introduced.
He tipped his cap and waved in all directions.
Manager Felipe Alou expected Bonds to be in the lineup again
Giants starter Noah Lowry left in the second inning with a
strained muscle in his lower back. The left-hander was scheduled to
be re-evaluated Friday.
Lowry grabbed his right side after throwing a 1-2 pitch to
Jordan. Giants catcher Mike Matheny headed to the mound and then
called for head trainer Stan Conte.
Lowry, 13-13 with a 3.78 ERA last year, had his first start
delayed a day because of rain in San Diego. Rookie Matt Cain was
originally set to start the Giants' home opener. Cain will start
Friday night's game instead.
Lowry, who signed a new four-year contract on Sunday, was the
only member of the Giants rotation not to miss a start last year.
Jeff Fassero (1-0) replaced Lowry, finished the strikeout to Jordan
and pitched 3 2-3 innings for the victory.
Randy Winn's leadoff single for the Giants ended an 0-for-9
streak to start the season.
Braves pitcher Kenny Ray struck out Bonds to start the seventh
after being called up from Triple-A Richmond earlier in the day.
Cox wanted Ray to face Bonds because the pitcher had a successful
spring against lefty hitters.
"You're talking about a player who's probably going to hit a
few home runs off me," Ray said. "It's just one of those things.
I guess I fared pretty well. Of course you're aware of it. The guy
is a Hall of Famer. I'm happy with the way it turned out."
Feliz is batting .313 (21-for-67) with the bases loaded --
hitting three homers and four doubles with 54 RBI. ... Vizquel and
C Mike Matheny were presented with their 2005 Gold Glove awards.
Matheny received his trophy from five-time Tigers Gold Glove C Bill
Freehan. Vizquel was joined by Venezuelan countryman and Hall of
Famer Luis Aparicio, a nine-time Gold Glove shortstop who played
for the 1959 World Series runner-up White Sox. ... Eight earthquake
survivors from the city's 1906 Great Quake and fires threw out the
ceremonial first pitches.