No. 713 and counting

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Barry Bonds hit his 713th career homer last night and then played meet the press.

"You hit your 13th homer in Philadelphia and your 713th in Philadelphia, what is the difference?" Bonds was asked.

"A seven," Bonds answered.

The San Francisco Giants slugger hit a 2-1 sinker in the sixth inning from Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Jon Lieber. The ball travelled 450 feet to right field off the McDonald's sign hanging from the third level at Citizens Bank Park at 9:41 p.m.

"He 'bout tore that Golden Arches sign down," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Bonds is one homer away from tying the magical figure set by Babe Ruth for second place on the career homer list.

"All of us hitters looked up to Ruth, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays when we were younger," Bonds said. "When I was younger, I thought Aaron was the home run king. Once he passed Ruth, Aaron was better in my mind."

And when Bonds passes Ruth?

Bonds shrugged his shoulders and said: "The numbers speak for themselves."

Phillies fans chanted "HE'S A CHEAT-ER!" last night and the left field banner read: "Ruth did it on hot dogs and beer. Aaron did it with class. How did YOU do it?"

"Dodger Stadium is still the worst for me," Bonds. "This was nothing."

Bonds, homerless in his previous 24 plate appearances, turned on the Lieber pitch.

"This is overwhelming right now," Bonds said. "It's bigger than a single-season home run record. It's big. It's really, really big.

"I'm just glad I didn't waste my mom's trip."

Pat Bonds was seated behind the dugout Saturday and Sunday nights, making the trip from California.

The home run cut the Phillies' lead to 5-3, but the Giants would lose 9-5, getting swept in the three-game series. Bonds circled the bases in super slo mo, finally quieting the Philadelphia fans, some of whom stood, cheered in admiration and took pictures.

When he reached the plate, he pointed to the sky, a tribute to his late father, Bobby Bonds, and then pointed to his mother behind the Giants dugout.

Bonds said a talk he and his mother had on Saturday helped him.

"Mom did most of the talking, that's a barrier I don't cross," Bonds said. "We had a long talk about a lot of things. I had to get my head straightened out and that means avoiding a lot of people sometimes."

When Bonds spoke last night, it was the first time he had addressed the media since before a game Wednesday in Milwaukee.

Bonds' home run ball fell from above to Airman 1st Class Carlos Oliveras, 25, of the U.S. Air Force. He is stationed at McGuire Air Force Base -- which was not named after Mark McGwire -- in Fort Dix, N.J.

Oliveras said he's a Bonds fan and isn't worried over the steroid allegations against the Giants slugger. Bonds was asked whether he wanted the ball as a souvenir.

"I look forward to giving someone a better lifestyle," Bonds said, meaning the fan could sell to the highest bidder.

Just then, Oliveras asked Bonds: "Could you please sign my ball?" Bonds declined. He later had his picture taken with the fan.

Lieber had had success handling Bonds in the past. In fact, Bonds came into the game with a .139 average against Lieber (5-for-36), his lowest average against any pitcher he has faced at least 15 times.

The Giants flew home last night, expecting to arrive in San Francisco at 5:30 a.m. Bonds is not expected to play tonight against the Houston Astros in a make-up game.

Then, he will try for No. 714 to tie Ruth and then pass him with his former manager, Dusty Baker, and the Chicago Cubs in the visitor's dugout.

It's about time for Ruth to move over.


Videos

Photos