- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2001


DENVER Barry Bonds is even amazing himself.

Bonds hit three home runs yesterday, giving him 63 for the season to pass Roger Maris' once-magical mark and move him closer to Mark McGwire's record of 70.

Bonds' third homer was a three-run shot in the 11th inning that helped lift the San Francisco Giants over the Colorado Rockies 9-4.

J.T. Snow broke a 4-4 tie with a two-run homer earlier in the 11th.

"I've been in disbelief over a lot of things I've done this year," Bonds admitted. "Everything is unreal. That was fun today, but not as much fun as J.T. winning it for us."

Bonds, who came to the postgame interview with home-run ball No. 62 in his pocket, took his first curtain call of the season on the road after his third homer.

Rockies fans, many of whom booed him earlier in the three-game series, gave Bonds a standing ovation, and he emerged from the dugout to acknowledge the cheers.

Several of Bonds' teammates also assembled around home plate to congratulate him after No. 63, and manager Dusty Baker later insisted that reports of coolness between Bonds and his teammates were untrue.

"All that stuff you read about hasn't

been in this clubhouse," Baker said. "Everybody in this clubhouse loves Barry.

"That was a big day for Barry. Three home runs, that's awesome."

Rockies manager Buddy Bell said he hoped Bonds breaks McGwire's record.

"I'm kind of rooting for him," Bell said, "but I'm glad he won't do it here. What he did today was incredible. The first ball he hit was mammoth."

Asked if he thought Bonds would break the record, Bell said: "I think so. When Mac was going through this, I thought every time he got up he was going to hit a home run. I look at Barry the same way."

Playing at Coors Field, Bonds broke Maris' record of 61 for most homers in a season by a left-handed hitter.

Bonds has 18 games left to break McGwire's record of 70 set in 1998. Bonds is now eight games ahead of McGwire's pace.

After an off-day Monday, Bonds and the Giants begin a series at Houston's homer-friendly Enron Field.

The win increased San Francisco's lead in the National League wild card race to one game over St. Louis.

Bonds connected for his second three-homer game of the season. He also did it May 19 at Atlanta.

With his first homer in the first inning, Bonds tied Maris' record for homers by a lefty set in 1961. With his second homer in the fifth, Bonds broke it.

Bonds also became the fastest to reach 63 homers, doing it in his 144th game. McGwire needed 152 games to do it in 1998.

Bonds now has 32 homers on the road, tying the major-league mark set by Babe Ruth in 1927 and equaled by McGwire in 1998.

In the first inning, on a 1-1 count, Bonds launched a 488-foot solo shot off Colorado's Scott Elarton the third-longest homer in Coors Field history. Bonds' soaring drive struck a beer sign beyond the center-field wall.

After taking a called third strike in the third, Bonds lined a 2-2 pitch from Elarton that just cleared the right-field wall in the fifth.

Maris, whose record stood for 37 years, had been surpassed only by McGwire and Sammy Sosa both right-handed hitters.

Bonds, who went 3-for-5, walked in the eighth and popped out in the 10th.

In the 11th, after Snow homered, Bonds hit a three-run shot off Todd Belitz, who was making his Colorado debut.

Bonds had gone homerless on Friday and Saturday in hitter-friendly Coors Field.

Benito Santiago led off the 11th with a walk, and Snow homered off Belitz (0-1). Marvin Benard then walked and Rich Aurilia singled, setting up Bonds' third homer.

Wayne Gomes (6-3) pitched the 10th to earn the win.

Greg Norton had three RBI, including a two-run homer, for Colorado.

The Giants took a 3-0 lead in the first. After consecutive homers by Aurilia and Bonds, Jeff Kent singled and scored on Shawon Dunston's double.

Alex Ochoa doubled to lead off the Rockies' fourth and scored on Norton's single.

Bonds' 361-foot homer in the fifth made it 4-1, but the Rockies got to 4-2 in their half on Juan Pierre's RBI triple.

Colorado made it 4-4 in the sixth when Todd Helton walked and Norton hit his 12th homer, off Jason Schmidt.

Elarton, making his Rockies debut following a July 31 trade from Houston and a stint on the disabled list (biceps tendinitis), went five innings, yielding eight hits and four runs.

Bell, hitting coach Clint Hurdle and slugger Larry Walker all were ejected in the first inning by plate umpire Rob Drake for arguing pitch calls.

Notes: Bonds' 488-foot homer at Coors Field was exceeded in distance only by a 496-foot shot by Mike Piazza and a 493-footer by Walker, both in 1997… . The Giants have hit consecutive homers seven times this season. Six of the occasions have involved Bonds… . Walker's average dipped to .342 but he continued to lead the NL. Houston's Moises Alou was second at .336… . Giants clubhouse assistant Ken Garibaldi dived into an 8-foot deep fountain area in center field to retrieve Bonds' 61st homer. He also found a half dozen others.

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