A victory manifests out West

Associated Press
Despite giving up eight home runs to Barry Bonds in his career, Braves pitcher John Smoltz (above) held the Giants' slugger 0-for-2 with a walk in the opener of a four-game series.

SAN FRANCISCO- Barry Bonds' home fans might have to wait a while to celebrate history.


John Smoltz silenced the sellout crowd eager to see another home run, keeping Bonds stuck at 753 in the Atlanta Braves' 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.

Bonds returned from a seven-game trip two homers shy of tying Hank Aaron's record of 755 but was 1-for-3 with a single and a walk. His eighth-inning single up the middle off Rafael Soriano was his first hit since connecting for two homers Thursday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Commissioner Bud Selig was a no-show for Bonds' welcome home party on a picture-perfect summer night in the Bay Area, where Bonds faced another one of the Hammer's former teams in the opener of a four-game series. The Giants took two of three in a weekend series at Milwaukee, where Aaron started and finished his career.

Brian McCann hit a three-run double in the first to stake Smoltz (10-5) to a quick lead. Smoltz has surrendered eight home runs to Bonds but none since giving up two on Aug. 9, 1998.

After a walk in the first, Bonds grounded out to second leading off the fourth, then grounded out to second again starting the sixth. Earlier in that at-bat, Smoltz threw an inside pitch that nearly clipped Bonds' knees and had him jumping out of the way. Bonds briefly stared at the mound but after his out they exchanged words and smiled.

Smoltz, making his second start since coming off the disabled list because of an inflamed right shoulder, helped his own cause with a squeeze bunt up the first-base line in the fourth to make it 4-1.

He got something to show for his efforts this time after a no-decision July 18 against Cincinnati. Smoltz allowed two runs - one earned - and seven hits in seven innings.

Soriano pitched the eighth and Bob Wickman finished for his 17th save in 21 chances.



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