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Giants happy Bonds on their side
04/14/2004 2:05 AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- There was still happiness on the Giants bench when Barry Bonds launched his 661st homer over the right-field wall Tuesday night, but the moment somehow seemed more normal -- less historic -- than his memorable blast from the day before.

That early one was so magically Bonds-esque, a blow that joined he and godfather Willie Mays at the homer hip, if briefly, in the record books. But the ink wasn't even dry when the 39-year-old Bonds passed the Say Hey Kid with a massive 468-foot homer into McCovey Cove 29 hours and 25 minutes later, give or take a second or two.

There was the usual cheering and salutes to Bonds, but this time Mays was not there to celebrate on the field, and while Bonds smiled again as he came into the dugout after demolishing a 1-2 pitch from Milwaukee pitcher Ben Ford, there was a decided emotional difference from the unbridled joy of Monday.

Manager Felipe Alou said Bonds seemed somewhat tearful as well while greeting his teammates, perhaps wishing his father Bobby Bonds, the ex-Giants star who passed away last August, had witnessed his latest feat.

"He always thinks about his dad when it happens, and I saw some of that tonight," said Alou. "This time he looked like he was going to cry."

Yet this was also a scene repeated exactly 661 times over Bonds' fabulous career, for 661 times he has helped his club, 661 times kept the Pittsburgh Pirates or the San Francisco club from being blanked. This is his game, what he does.

"Unbelievable," said closer Matt Herges of Bonds' reaching third place on baseball's all-time list and aiding the Giants' 4-2 victory over the Brewers. "I really don't know what to say about this one. It's funny, but you get used to it now. I looked at our assistant trainer Ben Potenziano and asked if Bonds would hit one and he said, 'No way, he's not getting anything to hit.'

"Then -- boom," said Herges.

Outfielder Dustan Mohr was on the bench this night, in awe of the big man and how he conducts his business. But he doesn't look at the ongoing homer total. Not per se.

"How many he hits -- that's something nice and he'll enjoy it when his career is over," said Mohr. "His kids will be able to see all that stuff. It's winning hits that count. The three he's hit this year have all come in big situations. I guess what goes through my mind is that it's a time in a game when we needed something to happen and they pitched to him.

"He usually doesn't miss," added Mohr. "That's it. I watch everything he does, not to copy him but to learn a lot. It's amazing, and I'm just glad to have been there for his three. I've been on the other side of his homers. They're not deflating because you almost expect him to do it."

Pitcher Dustin Hermanson, who had a great game himself by throwing one-run ball over 5 2/3 innings and pocketed his first win, said Bonds is a one-of-a-kind player who can discern pitches better than anyone else.

"He has a good eye at the plate and doesn't swing at bad pitches. To be the hitter he is and not swing at bad pitches is icing on the cake for him," said Hermanson, who also noted Bonds hardly seems distracted by the hoopla and controversy surrounding him this season.

"If he is distracted, he doesn't show it. The last two days it seems like his swing is a lot more fluid and easy. He's human and things have to get to him a little bit, but he's gone back to his Barry Bonds swing he had before. He might have been pressing a bit, but he won't tell you that."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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