Saturday, August 25, 2007

Bonds launches No. 561 as Giants hammer Brewers

-- After he was given the key to the city during an afternoon celebration, Barry Bonds reminded everybody what made him deserve it.

The Giants' slugger hit his 761st home run and pitcher Noah Lowry added three RBIs, helping San Francisco beat Milwaukee 11-6 Friday night and dropping the Brewers further back in the National League Central.

Lowry hit his second career homer and Kevin Frandsen also went deep for the Giants, who have won seven of their last nine. Omar Vizquel had two hits and drove in three runs.

The Brewers fell 1 1/2 games back of the division-leading Chicago Cubs, who beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2. Milwaukee trails the wild card-leading San Diego Padres by 4 1/2 games.

Lowry (14-7), who survived a collision with first baseman Ryan Klesko in the fourth inning, gave up season-highs in runs (6) and hits (12) but still managed to improve his August record to 12-0 in 20 career starts.

Bonds hit a towering shot off Chris Capuano with one out in the fourth. The ball cleared the stadium in right field and bounced on the boardwalk before splashing into McCovey Cove.

Bonds had an RBI single during the Giants' six-run first inning and flew out to right field in the second before hitting his 27th homer of the year. He left the game after grounding into a double play to end the sixth.

Capuano (5-11) made his first relief appearance in four years after the Brewers yanked him out of the starting rotation earlier in the week. He lost his 11th straight decision, tying the franchise record, after allowing four runs and six hits over five innings. He struck out three and didn't walk a batter.

"We'll keep him in the long role," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "I was hoping he would take this opportunity and run with it a little bit. I was hoping he would come out and would hold them right there and we'd win the game for him."

Capuano took over for starter Claudio Vargas, who lasted just two-thirds of an inning, the second-shortest outing of his career. Vargas gave up six runs and five hits, with one walk and a hit batter.

"I missed a lot of pitches up in the strike zone but they had a little luck at the start of the game," Vargas said. "They didn't hit hard up the middle and I missed a lot of pitches up in the zone and that's why I got hit."

The Brewers got to Lowry for three runs in the first. With one out, Corey Hart tripled and Ryan Braun singled. After Bill Hall struck out, consecutive singles by Pat Mench, Johnny Estrada and Joe Dillon produced two more runs. Estrada was thrown out trying to score.

The Giants sent 11 hitters to the plate in the first. Vizquel's three-run double and Lowry's RBI single ended the night for Vargas. Ray Durham also drove in a run.

"Omar's at bat turned the whole game around," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a tough inning when you give up three runs there. The way we came back was huge."

Durham left the game with a mild left hamstring strain following the fourth inning.

Rickie Weeks hit a two-out homer in the second to make it 6-4, and RBI singles by J.J. Hardy and Capuano tied the game in the third.

"It's nice if it works out," Capuano said. "But their pitchers did a good job of shutting us down."

Lowry's two-run shot in the third off Capuano gave the Giants an 8-6 edge. It was the second consecutive game a Giants' pitcher went deep, after Matt Cain homered on Thursday.

"I was just happy to make contact there and it just happened to come back over the plate and I ran into it" Lowry said. "At that time the game was tied and they were hitting me pretty well, so it was good to put us back on top. I told (Bochy) as soon as I came out of the game, he could have very easily taken me out of that game early and he stuck with me. That's something I definitely appreciate."

Frandsen's homer in the sixth made it 10-6 and Klesko scored on a double play ball in the seventh.

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