June 30, 2007


Unshaken Bonds smacks No. 750

Home run comes after fan’s intrusion


Associated Press/Ben Margot
San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds (25) runs the bases after hitting his 750th career home run off Arizona Diamondbacks’ Livan Hernandez in the eighth inning Friday in San Francisco. The hit puts Bonds within six of breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record.

By The Associated Press
The fans in San Francisco went wild when Barry Bonds hit No. 750 on Friday night. In Houston, Mark Loretta’s teammates swarmed the plate for a second straight night after he hit No. 69.
Bonds moved within five of tying Hank Aaron’s record, an inning after getting a startling hug from a fan in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to Arizona. Miguel Montero hit a solo homer off Brad Hennessey (1-3) in the 10th for the Diamondbacks and San Francisco lost its third straight.
Meanwhile, the Astros hit a walk-off home run for the second straight night off Colorado Rockies closer Brian Fuentes in a 9-8 victory.
“Everybody in that clubhouse knows he’s going to get a lot of attention reaching this milestone, as he should,” Giants manger Bruce Bochy said. “It’s going to be a big moment in baseball. Right now, we’re all embarrassed with where we’re at, how we’re playing, things that are happening on the field.”
The 42-year-old Bonds led off the eighth inning with a solo shot off D-backs starter Livan Hernandez to tie the game at 3. Watching the ball sail over the wall in right-center, he lowered his head and began his trot. The main center-field scoreboard immediately featured a road sign reading “Bonds 750” in the middle and “Road to History” on either side.
The home run came an inning after a fan gave everybody a scare when he hopped the fence and ran out to Bonds in left field. The seven-time NL MVP calmly greeted the man and walked him off and into the custody of security personnel.
The fan came out over the short fence along the left-field line and scurried to Bonds while Orlando Hudson was batting. Bonds didn’t flinch, putting his arm around the man and walking him off the field — and fans began chants of “Barry! Barry!”
“He just wanted to shake my hand,” Bonds told while quickly leaving the ballpark. “I told him to come with me so he didn’t get into any more trouble.”
The Giants said the man, in the custody of San Francisco police, would face charges of public drunkenness and interfering with a sporting event. His name and age were not immediately available.
Bochy credited Bonds for not panicking.
“My first feeling was fear,” said center fielder Dave Roberts, who began to move toward Bonds. “Barry handled it like a pro. I’m glad the situation was diffused.”
It was the fourth blown save in eight days for Fuentes, and the Rockies have lost eight straight.
With two outs, Fuentes (0-4) walked Carlos Lee, who hit a grand slam in the 11th off Fuentes on Thursday night. Loretta followed, homering to the Crawford Boxes in left for his second home run of the season.
The Astros are the first team to win consecutive games with walk-off home runs since Tampa Bay did it on May 19-20, 2006, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
It’s hard to imagine things getting much worse for Fuentes, who had 20 saves in 22 chances and a 1.89 ERA on June 21 but is 0-4 with a 42.43 ERA, allowing 11 runs in 2 1-3 innings since then. Manager Clint Hurdle said giving Fuentes a break from closing was “a possibility”, but he still had the support of his teammates.
“He’s my guy. I’ve got complete faith in him,” first baseman Todd Helton said. “He’s the closer. It’s a tough job. That’s why you pick a guy with the right attitude who’s able to bounce back and I know he will.”
Cubs 6, Brewers 5: Aramis Ramirez hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning, capping a three-run rally against Milwaukee closer Francisco Cordero for host Chicago.
The NL Central-leading Brewers led 5-3 going into the ninth before Alfonso Soriano and Mike Fontenot singled with one out off Cordero (0-2).
One batter later, Ramirez homered into the left-center-field bleachers, setting off a wild celebration at Wrigley Field.
Pirates 3, Nationals 2: Jose Bautista’s second sacrifice fly of the game drove in the winning run in the ninth inning, and host Pittsburgh rallied from two runs down to beat slumping Washington.
The Nationals have been limited to five runs while losing four in a row. They have dropped five of six and 10 of 13.
Cardinals 4, Reds 2: Juan Encarnacion’s tiebreaking single in the eighth inning helped visiting St. Louis rally past Cincinnati, giving reliever Troy Percival a triumphant return to the majors.
The 37-year-old Percival pitched a perfect seventh inning and earned his first victory since April 22, 2005.
The Reds fell a season-low 20 games under .500, leaving them with the worst record in the majors at 30-50.
Braves 12, Marlins 3: Chuck James held Florida to a run and four hits and had two hits of his own for visiting Atlanta, which won its fourth straight.
James (7-7) went 6 2-3 innings and struck out five to win for the second time in three starts. Marlins starter Josh Johnson (0-3) pitched four innings, allowing two runs and five hits.
Padres 7, Dodgers 6: Rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff’s three-run homer broke a tie in a six-run fourth inning for visiting San Diego.
Chris Young (8-3) allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out nine and walked one in winning his fourth straight decision. Hong-Chih Kuo (1-4) gave up seven runs on six hits, struck out three and walked three in losing his third in a row.
The Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control will take no action against a restaurant that served St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock before the drunken-driving accident that led to his death.
In a report, the division said all information from witnesses indicated Hancock was “consuming intoxicating liquor in moderation” and was “very lucid” in the hours before he died.



World Classic experience to help Post 489

Staff Writer

Head coach Jeff Flegler is optimistic as his Cortland Post 489 American Legion baseball team prepares for its second appearance in the Stop DWI World Youth Classic tournament in the Binghamton area.
The local squad went 0-5 last summer in its initial year of involvement in the event, but Flegler noted: “I think having a year of experience will help us. We didn’t win any games last year, but with the exception with the game against Oneonta (a 15-0 loss) we were winning or tied in the fifth inning or later in every one. We took State College, Pa., the third-ranked team in the country, to the wire.”
For the record, Cortland lost 10-2 to State College in its opener, fell 8-5 to Glassboro, N.J., and to Oneonta later the same day, dropped a 7-5 decision to Kingston (N.Y.) in eight innings and closed things out with an 11-10, eight-inning loss to Endicott.
This year, Post 489 is in Division IV and opens against Albuquerque, N.M. Post 49 at noon Tuesday at Binghamton University.
Cortland faces Brooklawn, N.J. Post 72 at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Conlon Field and plays a pair of games Thursday at Union-Endicott against the Ottawa (Ont.) Knights at 9 a.m. and Utica Post 229 at noon. The final pool-play game for the local squad is at 9 a.m. Friday against Shrub Oak (N.Y.) Post 1080 at Conlon Field.
Interdivisional playoffs for the tournament will take place next Saturday and Sunday, with the championship game slated for a 6 p.m. start on the latter date.
“I anticipate we’ll play better,” Flegler said. “I’d like to say we’d go 3-2 or 4-1. We’re an older team, and seem to have gotten the cobwebs out. The guys realize that they can’t just show up and expect to win. We’ve finished third in the district the last two years, and now we’re the hunted, not the hunters.
“I’m familiar with a couple of the teams we play,” he added. “Shrub Oak has won a couple of state championships, and Brooklawn is my old team and has won the World Youth Classic six times (second only to Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, with eight titles) and the national championship twice. I’ll be going against my old coach, Joe Barth Sr., who has been coaching the team for 55 years and is over 90. I should be able to get some information on Ottawa and Utica through contacts, but I know nothing about Albuquerque.”
According to the event’s website:  “2007 marks the 26th time that Broome County has hosted the STOP-DWI World Youth Classic Baseball Tournament. The inaugural World Youth Classic was played in Binghamton in 1982 on a field with an all-dirt infield.  The first tournament had only four teams (three from New York and one from Pennsylvania) and was played over two days. The tournament has grown from these humble beginnings to a truly international event. This year 24 teams will showcase their talent in over 50 games.
“Teams from Vestal, Endicott, Maine-Endwell, Johnson City and Binghamton will face off with 19 other teams from as far away Canada, Belgium, New Mexico, Maine, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico. Over the years, the Greater Binghamton area has hosted teams from across the United States and a number of foreign countries. Teams from Taiwan, China, Russia, Hungary, Spain, Italy, France and Portugal have also made the trip to Binghamton to compete in the Classic.”
Also, according to the website: “The tournament annually draws thousands of fans and is a regular for both professional scouts and college coaches. Hundreds of World Youth Classic alumni have gone on to play college baseball and at least 35 former competitors have played at the professional level. More important, the World Youth Classic has been the athletic thrill of a lifetime for thousands of young men who get to showcase their skills against national and international competition with an emphasis on sportsmanship.”