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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Barry Bonds Still Stuck At 713 Versus Oakland A's - Tribune

Pitchin' like Giant busters
A's Haren, Street go after Bonds, spin shutout


Oakland Athletics fans taunt San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds after he flyed out to center field in the second inning Friday, May 19, 2006 in Oakland, Calif. (Staff Photo by D. Ross Cameron

OAKLAND — No rubber chickens were at the Coliseum.

The A's pitchers went after Barry Bonds on Friday night, even with a 3-0 count, even with the game on the line, and lived to tell about it.

In fact, Dan Haren and Huston Street will no doubt be telling their grandchildren about Friday night's game.

Haren allowed two hits in eight innings, and Street struck out Bonds for a dramatic conclusion to a 1-0 A's victory over the Giants before a sellout crowd of 35,077 (which included 1,000 with standing-room only tickets) at the Coliseum.

The A's and Giants played their 51st regular season game since the inception of interleague in 1997, and it was the first that ended 1-0.

Only fitting it was the duel between good friends and former Pepperdine teammates Haren and Noah Lowry, who always seem to face off.

After the Giants scored 34 runs the previous three games in Houston, Haren held them scoreless for eight innings, allowing just two hits andtwo walks.

Haren threw 13 of his 14 pitches away to Bonds, the only exception a 1-0 breaking ball in the seventh inning that was inside and bounced at the plate.

Street threw a 1-1 fastball directly down the middle — the stadium radar gun was turned off — that Bonds nicked for a foul ball, then a rare Street changeup had Bonds flailing helplessly to send the A's crowd into a frenzy.

Bonds flew to center in the second, walked in the fourth and lined out to left on a 3-0 pitch in the seventh. Bonds is now 0-for-6 lifetime against Haren. Bonds has never faced Brad Halsey, the A's starter today.

Since Bonds' last homer on May7, he's 4-for-28 (.143) with nine walks and a hit by pitch in nine starts.

From 2000-2005, Bonds averaged a home run ever 8.23 at-bats. This year, he's hit five in 92 at-bats, or once every 18.4 at-bats.

The only intentional walk Friday night was issued by the Giants. With a runner at third and two outs in the seventh, Felipe Alou put Eric Chavez on first to face Frank Thomas. The strategy worked as Thomas flied out weakly to right.

Haren retired 10 of the first 11 batters to begin the game, the only runner getting wiped out on an interesting double play.

On a hit-and-run, A's second baseman Mark Ellis was covering second as Mike Matheny hit a grounder directly at him. Ellis stepped on the bag, leaped to avoid the slide of Mark Sweeney, was about to throw off-balance, then realized he had lots of time, so waited and then calmly threw to first.

Sweeney was robbed of a hit in the fifth by shortstop Bobby Crosby, who deftly cradled the ball after he dove and it got away from him briefly. Crosby made another good play, deep in the hole, to retire Omar Vizquel in the sixth inning.

Pedro Feliz, who has six home runs in 83 at-bats against the A's, just missed two more, flying out to the warning track in right in the second inning, and putting Jay Payton's back to the wall in left in the seventh.

Haren, who threw 100 pitches in a complete-game victory Sunday at Yankee Stadium, was at 89 pitches entering the eighth.

A one-out double by Sweeney prompted closer Huston Street to get up, although it took a few extra moments to find his glove.

Matheny was hit by a pitch, then Todd Greene was called out on strikes for the second out. With most of the crowd on its feet, Randy Winn hit a soft liner to left, Payton made a running catch, and pumped fists were all around.

Crosby just missed a two-run homer in the second inning, hitting a double high off the left-field wall that would likely have scored anybody except Thomas.

But because it was Thomas on first, he hobbled over to third, and the two runners were stranded when Nick Swisher and Bobby Kielty popped up on the infield to end the inning.

Lowry kept pitching out of trouble. The A's loaded the bases with one out in the third on a single, double and walk, but the only run scored on Eric Chavez's infield groundout — the only run of the game, as it turned out.


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