Bonds just misses HR in return to Giants#039; lineup

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005


- Barry Bonds is just a foot or two shy of his old sluggin' self.

In his season debut for San Francisco, Bonds strode to the plate Monday night, tipped his batting helmet to the roaring, flashbulb-popping crowd, then helped the Giants beat the first-place San Diego Padres 4-3.

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Bonds, who went 1-for-4 with a strikeout, worked a 3-2 count in his first at-bat and lined a double off Adam Eaton (10-4) that fell just shy of clearing the wall in left-center. It appeared at first that he had homered in his first trip to the plate since last October, but a fan reached over the fence and interfered with the ball, and the play was ruled a double.

The scoreboard briefly flashed ''704'' - which turned out to be premature. Bonds scored moments later on Ray Durham's single.

Durham also hit a solo homer that tied the game at 3 in the fourth, and finished with three hits and two RBIs.

Marlins 8, Astros 2

HOUSTON (AP) - Dontrelle Willis gave Florida the NL wild-card lead with an outstanding all-around effort.

The effervescent lefty homered and pitched his seventh complete game this season, earning his 21st victory in the Marlins' win over Houston. Florida moved a half-game ahead of the Astros in the wild-card standings, taking the top spot for the first time since after games of Aug. 30.

Willis (21-8) tied St. Louis ace Chris Carpenter for the major league lead in victories and complete games by winning his sixth straight start. He connected for a two-run shot off Scott Strickland in the sixth inning, giving the Marlins a 6-1 lead.

Phillies 4, Braves 1

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Eude Brito tossed three-hit ball over six shutout innings in his third career start, keeping Philadelphia in the hunt for the NL wild card.

Pat Burrell had three hits and two RBIs, Jimmy Rollins extended his hitting streak to 18 games.