Opportunity knocks for Bonds in Game 5Posted: Monday October 07, 2002 1:26 AM
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Ten years after Barry Bonds couldn't throw out Sid Bream at home plate in Atlanta, the San Francisco Giants' star slugger is headed back there for his next big chance to change his postseason reputation.
Bonds, the fourth-leading home run hitter in baseball history, is defined nearly as much by his playoff failures as his regular-season excellence. He contributed a sacrifice fly Sunday night in the Giants' 8-3 victory over the Braves, which ensured a deciding Game 5 at Turner Field on Monday night.
Bonds went 0-for-3 in Game 4 to drop his career postseason average to .198 (22-for-111), though he drove in a run in the first inning. He has hit two of his three career playoff homers in this series while going 3-for-14, but neither shot made any difference to the results of the games in which he hit them.
"The games have been lopsided," Bonds said. "There haven't been any close games. We don't want it to be their turn."
The Braves will send Kevin Millwood to the mound in Game 5. Bonds didn't get a hit against the right-hander in Game 2, though he hit a massive homer against closer John Smoltz in the ninth inning.
San Francisco hasn't won a playoff series in Bonds' 10 seasons with the club.
This victory was the first for the franchise in six tries when facing postseason elimination since the 1971 NL championship series.
Bonds, making his sixth postseason appearance in a 17-season career, was only a minor character in the Giants' latest victory. Big games from Rich Aurilia and Kenny Lofton -- as well as a phenomenal start by Livan Hernandez -- saved him from the spotlight.
"We're playing good, but it's not over," Bonds said. "We're not surprised (by Hernandez). He's one of our guys. We win together."
Now, the Giants are headed back to Atlanta, the site of perhaps his defining postseason moment so far. When he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992, Bonds didn't get his throw home in time to stop the slow-footed Bream from scoring on Francisco Cabrera's ninth-inning single as the Braves advanced to the World Series.
Bonds actually hit fairly well in that series, going 6-for-23 with his only postseason homer before this season. He has nine RBIs in 31 career postseason games.
Bonds has never played in the World Series. He's never even been on a team that won a playoff series -- but Bonds, just like the Giants, are now just one win away.