SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Barry Bonds hit his 660th home run
exactly as he would have scripted it: at home before a sellout
crowd to give the Giants the lead.

From the AP
Barry Bonds salutes the SBC Park crowd as Willie Mays, left, waits to present Bonds with a commemorative torch. (AP PHOTO)

The San Francisco slugger tied godfather Willie Mays for third
on baseball’s career list yesterday with a towering three-run
shot that splashed into McCovey Cove, sending the Giants to a 7-5
win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Bonds connected in the fifth inning on a 3-1 pitch from Matt
Kinney (0-1) for his second homer of the season. The estimated
442-foot blast put the Giants ahead 5-4. It was the 28th time Bonds
has homered into the water.

“It was like a weight was just lifted off my
shoulders,” Bonds said. “I felt a sense of
accomplishment in baseball. It’s a relief now to be able to
stand next to my godfather and finally feel like I’ve
accomplished something in the game of baseball. It was a big way of
getting his approval that I’ve finally done
something.”

The 39-year-old Bonds was greeted at home by several teammates
and he stepped on the plate and raised both hands in the air and
pointed to the sky.

Mays, who turns 73 next month, hurried to congratulate the
six-time National League MVP, giving his godson a hug and a kiss
outside the dugout. Mays presented him with a torch decorated with
25 tiny diamonds; symbolic of the number Bonds wears. They both
carried the torch before the 2002 Olympics.

Bonds came back out of the dugout and waved to the fans in each
direction as they cheered, “Barry! Barry!” and gave him
a standing ovation. The sellout crowd of 42,548 appeared to quickly
forget about the steroid controversy surrounding their star slugger
and his personal trainer.

Children along the left-field wall bowed to Bonds when he came
out to play the field in the top of the sixth. A banner of Bonds
was unfurled from the light tower to the left side of the main
center-field scoreboard to match one of Mays on the other side.

“I think this is probably the icing on the cake,”
Bonds said. “I really wish my dad could have been here to be
part of it … I just really can’t believe it, being four
years old when my dad came up into the major leagues and having an
idol like Willie Mays take me under his wing, and now being up in
front of all of you people answering questions what it’s like
to tie the man you respected and honored your entire
life.’’

Mays has been a mentor to Bonds since the slugger’s
father, Bobby, died last August.

Hank Aaron leads the career list with 755 home runs, followed by
Babe Ruth with 714.

Mays hit his 660th on Aug. 17, 1973, as a member of the New York
Mets at Shea Stadium off Cincinnati’s Don Gullett.

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