69 and holding
Sinking Astros pitch around Bonds, fall into first-place tie
Updated: Wednesday October 03, 2001 7:53 AM
HOUSTON (AP) -- At this rate, Barry Bonds will walk his way into history before he ever trots there.
Bonds went 1-for-2 with two walks, and was hit by a pitch while the Giants further scrambled the NL playoff picture. He stayed at 69 home runs, with five games left to break Big Mac's mark.
"You can't do anything if you're not pitched to," Bonds said. "You take what they give you. We won, that's all that matters."
If Bonds does go deep Wednesday night, the scoreboard operators at Enron Field will be ready. Shortly after fans left the park, they began trying out their displays for No. 70 and No. 71, if necessary.
"Billy pitched to me," Bonds said.
Bonds has walked 169 times this year, one short of Babe Ruth's record set in 1923. A record crowd at Enron booed when Reynolds worked around Bonds, who admitted he was a bit surprised by the strategy.
"When he came up, there were guys on base, so we are not going to give him a pitch to hit," Reynolds said.
Bonds will see rookie Tim Redding on Wednesday night, with a chance to make history on a most historic day. It will be the 50th anniversary of one of baseball's most famous home runs, Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard `Round the World."
In Redding's previous outing, he gave up three consecutive home runs to Sammy Sosa.
"I've faced McGwire, Sosa and Bonds, three of the most prolific home run hitters ever, and I've done nothing by go right after them," Redding said. "You can't worry about all the sideshows."
But does Bonds expect to get some pitches over the plate?
"I haven't the faintest idea. We'll see tomorrow," he said.
The crowd of 43,548 that included commissioner Bud Selig and Bonds' father, Bobby, saw the Giants send Houston to its fourth consecutive loss.
The Astros dropped into a tie for Central lead with St. Louis, which beat Milwaukee 5-1. They had held the division lead by themselves since Aug. 17, and could have clinched at least a wild-card spot with a win.
Ramon Martinez hit the Giants' franchise-record 227th home run of the season as they won for the sixth time in eight games. They remain two games behind Arizona in the West. The Diamondbacks beat Colorado 10-1 on Tuesday night.
Reynolds (13-11), who had won four consecutive decisions, was foiled in his first bid to earn his 100th career victory.
Before the game, Bonds said he hoped Houston would pitch to him in this three-game series. But also said his No. 1 goal was to help the Giants reach the playoffs, no matter whether he set the home run record.
Bonds was hit by a pitch in the first inning and, with the crowd booing, walked on five pitches in the fourth. He grounded a single up the middle in the sixth and scored on Jeff Kent's double for a 3-1 lead.
In the seventh, after he kept Aurilia from arguing too long with plate umpire Mike Winters, he ran the count to 3-0 before getting an intentionally walk.
Bonds is used to getting such treatment. He's drawn a major league-record 352 intentional walks in his career, including 32 this season.
"Maybe he'll get some pitches to hit tomorrow and pop one," Giants manager Dusty Baker said.
Martinez singled and scored on Calvin Murray's single in the fifth. Kent doubled home Bonds in the sixth.
Notes: Bonds, who hit his 69th home run Saturday at home against San Diego, got only one strike in 11 pitches Sunday vs. the Padres. ... The previous largest crowd at Enron was 43,277 on June 17 to see Houston play Texas. ... Mays, Barry Bonds' godfather, was en route to Houston to possibly see the record-breaking homer. ... Mays had 208 hits in 1958 and Bobby Bonds had 200 in 1970. ... Kent passed Jack Clark, who had 46 doubles in 1978. ... Lance Berkman doubled for his 90th extra-base hit, breaking the Houston record set last season by Richard Hidalgo. ... The Giants hit 226 home runs last year.