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NL: Bonds homers in teary return

By Wire services
Published August 31, 2003

PHOENIX - Barry Bonds looked up and pointed toward the sky, as he does after every home run.

But this was no ordinary homer. His heart told him so.

Overwhelmed by emotion after connecting in his first game back after his father's death, Bonds later left the San Francisco Giants' 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Saturday with an accelerated heart rate.

"It's tough. I lost my coach," Bonds said.

His father, Bobby, died Aug. 23 at age 57 after being ill for nearly a year with lung cancer and a brain tumor.

"The emotions just went through me, I felt lightheaded and couldn't stop my heart rate from racing," Bonds said. "After the home run I couldn't breathe. I tried to stay in there as long as I could. That's never happened to me."

Resting on one knee in the ondeck circle when the top of the eighth ended, Bonds came out in the bottom half. He left the dugout shortly thereafter because of heart palpitations he said started with his homer off Randy Johnson.

San Francisco trainer Stan Conte said Bonds' heart rate was between 150-160 beats per minute after the home run. A normal adult heart rate ranges from 60-100 beats per minute.

Bonds felt better after the game, and Conte said the team would monitor his heart rate through the night. Bonds was expected to play today.

"This guy has been through a lot of stress," manager Felipe Alou said. "Then to show up and play right away is not an easy thing to do."

Bonds homered in his second at-bat, leading rookie right-hander Jerome Williams and the Giants to an emotional victory.

Bonds, who missed six games after his father's death, reached on an infield single in the first, then hit a 403-foot homer into the rightfield stands leading off the fourth.

"If you believe in life after death, a lot of people were looking at that moment," Alou said.

After crossing home, the normally placid slugger pointed skyward with his index fingers and clapped once. He looked up toward the closed roof at Bank One Ballpark for a few moments, his gaze lingering longer than usual.

"My dad's helped a lot of people's careers, especially mine," Bonds said. "I just felt like somebody's carrying me right now, giving me an extra push."

MARLINS 4, EXPOS 3: Carl Pavano pitched eight-plus solid innings and Juan Encarnacion drove in four as host Florida held on.

Pavano allowed four hits before Vladimir Guerrero led off the ninth with a homer to leftfield and Wil Cordero singled.

ASTROS 11, PADRES 6: Lance Berkman and Morgan Ensberg homered and Jared Fernandez pitched six solid innings for host Houston.

Fernandez snapped a personal three-game losing streak for the Astros, who used four pitchers in San Diego's five-run seventh but held on and maintained a first-place tie with St. Louis in the Central.

CARDINALS 6, REDS 3: Jim Edmonds drove in four with a homer and a double and made another sensational catch atop the centerfield wall as St. Louis won for the first time in six games at Great American Ball Park.

Brett Tomko beat his former team for the first time in five career starts. He was bitter when Cincinnati traded him to Seattle in 2000 in the deal for Ken Griffey.

PHILLIES 4, METS 2: Randy Wolf, coming off the worst start of his career, handcuffed host New York for seven innings as Philadelphia stayed tied with Florida in the wild-card race.

The Phillies hit four singles off Tom Glavine to break a tie at 2 in the seventh. Marlon Byrd started with a hit and raced to third on a hit-and-run single by Placido Polanco. Run-scoring hits by Mike Lieberthal and Jason Michaels finished Glavine.

BREWERS 9, CUBS 5: Richie Sexson homered and drove in four, Scott Podsednik stole home and Matt Kinney won his third straight start for visiting Milwaukee, which had a 10-game winning streak, second-longest in franchise history, snapped Friday.

BRAVES 13, PIRATES 6: Rookie Mike Hessman hit a two-run homer in his second start for Atlanta, keying a seven-run third that ruined Oliver Perez's debut with host Pittsburgh.

DODGERS 5, ROCKIES 0: Jeromy Burnitz's two-run single keyed a four-run sixth for host Los Angeles.

[Last modified August 31, 2003, 01:47:13]


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