Notes: Free passes back in vogue
Intentional walks to Bonds return; Durham gets rest
PHOENIX -- It had to happen sooner or later, and it did to Barry Bonds on Friday night: the rebirth of the intentional walk."I've been there before," said Bonds, who had been awarded first base without effort three times going into the game and matched that number in the 3-2 loss to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field that snapped the Giants' winning streak at eight. The way he's going, he'll undoubtedly be there again. "I hope not," he said. Don't count on it. The six intentionals on the season extended his Major League record to 651 and was a stark reminder of the single-season record 120 he was issued in 2004, his last of seven MVP seasons and the last he was completely ambulatory -- until now. Overall, he's walked 17 times this season, giving him 2,443 in his career, extending another record. Bonds came into Saturday night's game hitting .357 on the season with seven homers and 15 RBIs, plus he's been sizzling over the last 10 days, winning two games against the Diamondbacks last weekend in San Francisco with home runs. And all three walks Friday night were legitimate, coming with a runner on second and first base open. "Early in the game, a lot of times you don't want to put too many guys on base, but that game just had the feeling like it was going to be a low-scoring game the way both those guys were pitching," said Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin. "That's the one guy who's just a bad matchup for anybody." Playing on a recovering right knee and with bone chips in his left elbow last year, Bonds still led the National League with 115 walks, 38 of them intentional. His .454 on-base percentage was the best in baseball. At .507, his OBP was tops in the NL entering play Saturday. Obviously, there are going to be more walks to come. Got to like that Chase: Randy Winn and Dave Roberts are two Giants who love playing at Chase Field. Winn is a lifetime .464 hitter here (26-for-56) with four homers. Roberts is a .366 hitter (53-for-145) with three homers and 20 runs batted in. The left-handed-hitting Roberts said that he's always felt comfortable in the climate-controlled confines of the Diamondbacks' 10-year-old ballpark with the sliding roof. "That's just baseball," Roberts said. "Some places you just feel better about playing in. It's pretty simple, I guess. There's a great batter's eye, terrific hitting background. I just see the ball better here for some reason. So I really look forward to coming here." Winn, a switch-hitter, has been struggling almost everywhere this year, but not here. He has three hits Friday night, including his first homer of the season, falling just a triple short of the cycle. "Most of it seems to be left-handed and not right-handed," said Melvin about pitching to Winn. "We've probably given him a few too many pitches to hit. We might have to be more careful." Sweeney Dog: Mark Sweeney has made an art form of coming off the bench during his 10-year career. He did it again Friday night, pinch-hitting to lead off the ninth hitting and smacking a homer off Arizona closer Jose Valverde. It was the 14th pinch-shot of his career, good for fourth place all-time. Sweeney leads all active players with pinch-hits (141) and is fifth all-time in that category. "I wasn't dreaming of being a pinch-hitter, but if there was an opportunity for me to stay in the big leagues, I wanted to do that," said the left-handed-hitting, 37-year-old Sweeney. "I was a guy who just wanted a day in the big leagues. And suddenly the pinch-hitting started and I got into that role. People asked me, 'Don't you want to play?' Yeah, sure, I wanted to play. But it's also a situation that if I wanted to play every day, I might not be in a uniform right now." Lineup shifts: Second baseman Ray Durham was replaced by Rich Aurilia on Saturday night. Durham has been nursing a sore lower back, manager Bruce Bochy said.
"We'll just give him the day and he'll be back in there [Sunday]," Bochy added.
Durham, who had played in all 21 of the club's games, stranded eight baserunners Friday night after the cleanup-hitting Bonds was walked intentionally three times and hit by a pitch. Ryan Klesko was in the fifth spot behind Bonds on Saturday.
Bochy also said Bonds would probably get a day off Sunday after starting eight straight. Catcher Bengie Molina, who has played 19 games, is also projected to sit for Eliezer Alfonzo on Sunday.Coming up: The Giants close the six-game roadie Sunday with an afternoon game against the Diamondbacks. They get their first look at 43-year-old Randy Johnson (0-1, 10.80 ERA), making only his second start in his return from two seasons with the Yankees. The 6-foot-10 left-hander is scheduled to face rejuvenated right-hander Matt Morris (3-0, 2.49). The Lads then return home Monday night to open a 10-game stand at AT&T Park against the Rockies, who will be followed in by the Phillies and the Mets.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.