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Teammates glad Bonds' chase over
09/18/2004 4:46 AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO -- Amazement. Awe. Respect. A treasured moment.

Those were the reactions of Giants players and coaches after witnessing Barry Bonds slug the 700th homer of his career Sept. 17 at SBC Park in San Francisco's 4-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.

But there was a feeling of relief as well, for with the pressure-cooker atmosphere of Bonds reaching the milestone having lost steam, the focus and heat of the playoff chase comes to the fore.

Now it's back to playing winning baseball, but Bonds will hardly be the biggest Giant of them all, dwarfing everybody else's contributions.

Relief pitcher Jim Brower put Bonds and the Giants' stretch run into perspective.

"It is awesome to see him get it and it takes a little pressure off him so he can feel more comfortable at the plate, which makes us happy," said Brower. "When he's comfortable, he makes things happen.

"I think he's happy to be home, happy to get the home run out of the way," added the reliever. "It's back to business tomorrow. It was different tonight, and down the road it'll feel historic, and right now it seems almost overdone the way everybody treats it."

Brower said he and other teammates are glad the hoopla and media hordes and constant attention given to Bonds is over.

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"The news for me now is winning tonight's game against a club that has had our number [San Diego is now 10-4 vs. the Giants this season] and Jason Schmidt going for us tomorrow," said Brower. "It was a huge game to win and Barry contributed one of the runs, but the other three were just as important."

Ten-year veteran pitcher Kirk Rueter, fortunate he wasn't one of Bonds' home run victims, said Bonds is the best player in baseball and that 700 "speaks for itself. He'll go down as one of the greatest players of all time.

"Everybody's worried about him, so it helps out the rest of us with the focus on him," added Rueter. Pitchers have to worry about him two or three batters away. He affects the game in so many ways. There's only three guys now in the 700 club, and I don't think he'll be done at 700."

Outfielder Dustan Mohr said he's been on the opposite side of Bonds' blasts with Minnesota, but the hard-nosed player has become close with the Giants superstar and loved being part of home run history.

"It meant something to see it -- only two guys had ever done it," he said. "We saw the third guy do that. To experience that, playing with a player of that caliber, is something we'll talk about in the offseason and talk about with our kids and grandkids when we get older."

Dustin Hermanson, who earned the save in the game, reiterated what Bonds said in Milwaukee, saying the star emphasizes winning ballgames and getting to the World Series is his ultimate goal.

And, well, a batting title might be good as well.

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

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