Barry Bonds rounds first after hitting homer No. 660. (Eric Risberg/AP)
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Jerome Williams can almost look someone in the eye now and say, "Jinx? What sophomore jinx?"
Not that too many people were watching him this day.
The second-year big leaguer was kind of an afterthought in San Francisco's dramatic, 7-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at SBC Park on Monday, and for good reason.
This game belonged to Barry Bonds, who hit his 660th career homer -- tying Willie Mays' lifetime figure -- with a majestic three-run shot in the fifth inning and went 3-for-3 with four RBIs, a double and single.
The Giants megastar was presented his sixth National League MVP Award by none other than hockey great Wayne Gretzky and Hall of Fame basketball star Bill Russell prior to the contest.
Maybe that got Bonds' juices flowing. He was home, before his adoring fans, eager to catch his godfather's personal best then strike out for the big boppers -- Babe Ruth's 714 total and record-holder Henry Aaron's fabled 755 blasts.
Giants pitcher Kirk Rueter shook his head in wonder. He's seen him for a long time destroying opposing pitchers' ERAs but he always expects more from one of baseball's all-time greats.
"It's been a joy to watch him," said Rueter. "He's one of the best players of all time. I think he wanted to get it over with and do it here at Opening Day in front of the home fans. They deserved it, and so did he."
Bonds' wonderful day helped boost Williams to his first victory of the campaign, and the right-hander was enthralled as the fans and his teammates rose as one in jubilation as Barry socked his homer over the right-field wall in the fifth inning.
"That was awesome," said Williams.
Yet the 22-year-old could feel pride as well, giving up three earned runs over six innings and never allowing the Brewers to break the game open and suddenly feeling confident again.
Bombarded by hits during Spring Training -- 0-6 record, 7.52 ERA, 22 earned runs over 26 1/3 innings -- Williams was rocked in his debut vs. Houston, giving up five runs over six frames in a 10-1 blowout by the Astros.
It didn't help that Houston's Roger Clemens blanked the Giants over the first seven innings.
Jerome Williams / P
Weight: 180 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
There it was, the second-season woes eating away at Williams' psyche, yet Monday's effort was solid, with Williams excited now for his next start as his game rounds into shape.
"I'm just around the corner now -- that's how I feel," said Williams of recovering the rookie style that saw him win seven games with a 3.30 ERA. It's a little bit here, little bit there, just tiny things now and I'm ready. Everything's just got to get into that groove again.
"In the spring, I was working on stuff, but by the end I was frustrated," said Williams, whose arm angles weren't consistent and his pitches were flat and hittable. "I was really down on myself, but I felt really comfortable out there. I'm really close."
With a 1-1 record and a sinking 6.00 ERA, the Giants' third starter felt poised against the Brewers, and he loved seeing his teammates get 10 hits overall and Bonds do his amazing disappearing ball trick.
"Wow -- that man in the [clubhouse] corner," said Williams, noting Bonds getting ready for a postgame interview. "And all our guys in the clutch hitting every time."
The Brewers had taken a 3-2 lead after three innings off Williams, as Geoff Jenkins drove in two runs with a pair of singles and another score came on an error.
J.T. Snow / 1B
Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
J.T. Snow drilled a run-scoring double in the first against Matt Kinney, then Bonds smacked an RBI single in the third. Milwaukee upped the count to 4-2 as Scott Podsednik singled and scored on Junior Spivey's base hit in the fifth.
But the Giants rallied in the fifth as Ray Durham walked and Snow singled, setting up Bonds' towering blow into the cove, his 28th such shot and the 32nd Splash Hit overall.
Tony Torcato's pinch-hit single boosted the Giants' lead to 6-4 in the sixth, although Milwaukee fought back with a score in the seventh.
Bonds was at it again in the seventh, hitting a wind-blown double to left field, then making it 7-5 on A.J. Pierzynski's single.
Snow is still hitting only .200, but his two hits were rippers. A good sign.
"I felt I hit some balls good in Houston and San Diego, but now I've got to keep swinging -- they'll fall sooner or later," said Snow. "We've been getting our double-digit hits in the first seven games with men on base. We'll be fine."
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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