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Bonds' 660th homer boosts Giants04/12/2004 7:24 PM ET
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Jerome Williams can almost look someone in the eye now and say, "Jinx? What sophomore jinx?" Not that too many people were watching him this day. The second-year big leaguer was kind of an afterthought in San Francisco's dramatic, 7-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at SBC Park on Monday, and for good reason. This game belonged to Barry Bonds, who hit his 660th career homer -- tying Willie Mays' lifetime figure -- with a majestic three-run shot in the fifth inning and went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, a double and single. The Giants megastar was presented his sixth National League MVP Award by none other than hockey great Wayne Gretzky and Hall of Fame basketball star Bill Russell prior to the contest. Maybe that got Bonds' juices flowing. He was home, before his adoring fans, eager to catch his godfather's personal best then strike out for the big boppers -- Babe Ruth's 714 total and record-holder Henry Aaron's fabled 755 blasts. Giants pitcher Kirk Rueter shook his head in wonder. He's seen him for a long time destroying opposing pitchers' ERAs but he always expects more from one of baseball's all-time greats. "It's been a joy to watch him," said Rueter. "He's one of the best players of all time. I think he wanted to get it over with and do it here at Opening Day in front of the home fans. They deserved it, and so did he." Bonds' wonderful day helped boost Williams to his first victory of the campaign, and the right-hander was enthralled as the fans and his teammates rose as one in jubilation as Barry socked his homer over the right-field wall in the fifth inning. "That was awesome," said Williams. Yet the 22-year-old could feel pride as well, giving up three earned runs over six innings and never allowing the Brewers to break the game open and suddenly feeling confident again. Bombarded by hits during Spring Training -- 0-6 record, 7.52 ERA, 22 earned runs over 26 1/3 innings -- Williams was rocked in his debut vs. Houston, giving up five runs over six frames in a 10-1 blowout by the Astros. It didn't help that Houston's Roger Clemens blanked the Giants over the first seven innings.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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