Bonds leaps over Maris, approaches McGwire


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DENVER -- Barry Bonds hit three home runs Sunday to give him
63 for the season, passing Roger Maris' once-magical mark and
moving him closer to Mark McGwire's record.

Playing at Coors Field, Bonds broke Maris' record of 61 for most
homers in a season by a left-handed hitter.

Bonds has 18 games left to break McGwire's record of 70 set in

After an off-day Monday, Bonds and the San Francisco Giants
begin a series at Houston's homer-friendly Enron Field.

Bonds hit No. 61 in the first inning to match Maris' then-major
league record 61 homers for the New York Yankees in 1961. Bonds
broke the mark with No. 62 in the fifth.

Bonds added a three-run homer in the 11th off Colorado reliever
Todd Belitz.

Bonds also became the fastest to reach 62 homers, doing it in
his 144th game. Mark McGwire needed 145 games to reach 62 when he
broke Maris' record by hitting 70 homers in 1998.

In the first, on a 1-1 count, Bonds launched a 488-foot solo
shot off Colorado's Scott Elarton. Bonds' soaring drive struck a
beer sign beyond the center-field wall.

It was the third-longest homer in Coors Field history, exceeded
only by a 496-foot shot by Mike Piazza and a 493-footer by Larry

In the fifth, Bonds lined a 2-2 pitch from Elarton that just
cleared the right-field wall.

Maris, whose record stood for 37 years, had been surpassed only
by McGwire and Sammy Sosa -- both right-handed hitters.

Bonds struck out looking in the third. He had gone homerless on
Friday and Saturday.

Also in Sunday's game, Rockies manager Buddy Bell, hitting coach
Clint Hurdle and slugger Larry Walker all were ejected by home-plate umpire Rob Drake in a four-pitch sequence.

Hurdle, who was ejected in the third inning of Saturday's game
for arguing pitch calls made by Ted Barrett, was tossed by Drake
after arguing a strike call with Walker at the plate, a pitch that
made the count 2-1.

Hurdle and Bell both went to the plate to argue.

When Walker, on a full count, took a called third strike on a
pitch from San Francisco's Jason Schmidt that appeared to be low,
Walker flipped his bat in frustration and was ejected by Drake.
Bell again argued that call and he, too, was tossed.

Bell returned to the dugout and angrily threw his clipboard onto
the field, the papers scattering.

The next batter, Todd Helton, also took a called third strike
and argued briefly with Drake but was not ejected.