- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001


HOUSTON (AP) At this rate, Barry Bonds will walk his way into history before he ever trots there.
Bonds once again got little to swing at, remaining one short of Mark McGwire's home run record as the San Francisco Giants beat the Houston Astros 4-1 last night.
Bonds went 1-for-2 with two walks, and was hit by a pitch while the Giants further scrambled the National League playoff picture. He stayed at 69 home runs, with five games left to break Big Mac's mark.
"You can't do anything if you're not pitched to," Bonds said. "You take what they give you. We won, that's all that matters."
If Bonds does go deep tonight, the scoreboard operators at Enron Field will be ready. Shortly after fans left the park, they began trying out their displays for No. 70 and No. 71, if necessary.
Facing Shane Reynolds, among the majors' best control pitchers, Bonds swung only once in four trips. Against Billy Wagner's 98-mph fastballs, he grounded out.
"Billy pitched to me," Bonds said.
Bonds has walked 169 times this year, one short of Babe Ruth's record set in 1923. A record crowd at Enron booed when Reynolds worked around Bonds, who admitted he was a bit surprised by the strategy.
"When he came up, there were guys on base, so we are not going to give him a pitch to hit," Reynolds said.
Bonds will see rookie Tim Redding tonight, with a chance to make history on a most historic day. It will be the 50th anniversary of one of baseball's most famous home runs, Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World."
In Redding's previous outing, he gave up three straight home runs to Sammy Sosa.
"I've faced McGwire, Sosa and Bonds, three of the most prolific home run hitters ever, and I've done nothing by go right after them," Redding said. "You can't worry about all the sideshows."
But does Bonds expect to get some pitches over the plate?
"I haven't the faintest idea. We'll see tomorrow," he said.
The crowd of 43,548 that included commissioner Bud Selig and Bonds' father, Bobby, saw the Giants send Houston to its fourth straight loss.
The Astros dropped into a tie for Central lead with St. Louis, which beat Milwaukee 5-1. They had held the division lead by themselves since Aug. 17, and could have clinched at least a wild card spot with a win.
Ramon Martinez hit the Giants' franchise-record 227th home run of the season as they won for the sixth time in eight games. They began the day two games behind Arizona in the West.
Rich Aurilia doubled and singled, joining Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds as the only San Francisco players with 200 hits in a season. Jeff Kent delivered his team-record 47th double, driving in Bonds.
Kirk Rueter (14-12) limited the Astros to one run in 6!= innings. Robb Nen pitched the ninth for his 44th save.
Reynolds (13-11), who had won four straight decisions, was foiled in his first bid to earn his 100th career victory.
Before the game, Bonds said he hoped Houston would pitch to him in this three-game series. But also said his No. 1 goal was to help the Giants reach the playoffs, no matter whether he set the home run record.

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