10/01/2003 3:54 PM ET
Bonds always finds a way
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brad Penny said that he learned his lesson last year when he challenged Barry Bonds and lost, surrendering a two-run homer to the slugger. So in Wednesday's National League Division Series game, Penny knew to pitch carefully to Bonds.
"I got past that [wanting to challenge him] already," said Penny in a Tuesday press conference. "I've already tried it; it didn't work. So I'd like to let him beat me the other way if he's going to beat me from now on."
With two out in the first inning, Bonds beat Penny with neither a walk nor a homer, scorching an RBI double past first base and into the right-field corner to bring home Ray Durham, who had singled to start the inning.
In the fourth, after Rich Aurilia reached base with a bunt single, Penny threw a low ball to Bonds, prompting catcher Ivan Rodriguez to visit the mound. The next three pitches were even less hittable, low and away, and put Bonds on first, and Penny ended up paying for the walk.
Edgardo Alfonzo drove a two-run double to the warning track, and Bonds nearly caught Aurilia on the base paths as the two scampered home to give the Giants the lead.
"You're damned if you do, you're damned if you don't [pitch to him]," said Florida manager Jack McKeon. "Almost like flipping a coin, say, 'Which way is the best to go?' You pitch to him today, and he doubles. You pitch to him another time, he homers. You walk him, the next guy doubles."
Penny was replaced in the fifth by Rick Helling, and after Helling gave up two hits and a walk, Rodriguez didn't even wait for Bonds to get to the batter's box before standing up and sticking out his glove for an intentional walk that loaded the bases.
Reliever Carl Pavano induced a pair of infield popups to defuse the threat, though the second nearly ended in disaster when Derrek Lee collided with Pavano while making the catch. That inning loomed large, as Florida later added five runs to take a 9-5 victory and a 1-1 series split back to Miami.
"The Marlins played better," said Bonds. "They won. That's it."
Rookie phenom Dontrelle Willis, scheduled to start Game 4 on Saturday, got Bonds to foul out on a 1-1 pitch leading off the eighth.
"He's human, but at the same time, he's not human," said Willis. "I was just trying to go out there and pitch. Whatever happens, happens. If he hits the ball in the water, he hits the ball in the water. I didn't want to go out there walking guys."
In two official at-bats, Bonds ended up with that RBI double, a run and one walk. He tied an NLDS record with three walks in Tuesday's series opener, with one of his two intentional walks coming with two out and the bases empty in the eighth. Bonds stole second and then scored an insurance run for the Giants in their 2-0 victory.
Bonds holds the Major League record for most walks in a postseason, with 27; most walks in a World Series, with 13; and most homers in a postseason; with eight, all set during last year's playoffs.
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.