CINCINNATI (AP) — Bronson Arroyo outfoxed Barry Bonds — and outhomered him, too.
Bonds managed only a modest single Thursday night, stalling his chase of the home run record, while the Cincinnati Reds rolled to a 6-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants behind their power-hitting pitcher.
Arroyo (3-9) kept Bonds guessing with an assortment of pitches that gave the radar gun a workout, registering anywhere between 67 mph and 91 mph. He even brushed Bonds back with an up-and-in fastball that drew one of the loudest cheers of the night.
Bonds remained at 751 career homers, four away from Hank Aaron’s record.
Third career homer
Arroyo also hit his third career homer off Matt Morris (7-5), a solo shot that helped him end the longest slump of his career. The right-hander hadn’t won since May 6, going 0-7 in his last 10 tries.
Ken Griffey Jr. doubled home a pair of runs, and Josh Hamilton also homered for the Reds, who took two of three for their first winning series in a month.
With that, Bonds left one city known for a historic homer and headed for another.
Aaron tied Babe Ruth’s mark of 714 in Cincinnati on opening day 1974, then went home to Atlanta and topped it four days later. During his three-day stay in Cincinnati, Bonds took another step toward Aaron’s total, hitting a two-run homer in the series opener.
St. Louis next
Now, Bonds is off to a three-game series in St. Louis, where Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris’ single-season record in 1998.
After that, Bonds will fly back to San Francisco to start in the All-Star game. The Giants resume with three home games against the Dodgers, then hit the road for seven games in Chicago and Milwaukee.
If Cincinnati is a barometer, he’d have a much more enjoyable time breaking the record at home.
Reds fans gave Bonds rough treatment every time his name was mentioned. When he hit No. 751 on Tuesday night, he was booed and jeered while he rounded the bases. Before he came to bat on Thursday, fans yelled “Cheater!” in reference to baseball’s steroids scandal.
It wasn’t a totally bad time for Bonds.
The series matched two of baseball’s greatest sluggers — Bonds with 751 homers and Griffey with 585. The two buddies shared laughs on the field before games, and had a friendly try-to-top-this competition.
Each can claim they won. Bonds had a 1-0 advantage in homers, but Griffey had more RBIs (4-2). Bonds can point out that he sat out one game, resting his sore legs.
On the final night, the bulky Bonds was outhomered by a lanky, long-haired pitcher who plays guitar in concert and has a nice touch with the bat, too. He connected on a first-pitch fastball from Morris in the second inning.
Arroyo now has homered off two pitchers — he connected twice last season off the Cubs’ Glendon Rusch. Bonds holds the major league record, having homered off 442 pitchers.
Arroyo’s name wasn’t on Bonds’ expansive list, and the right-hander wanted to keep it that way. Arroyo threw him everything he had, at every speed he could find.
Bonds had a tough time guessing what was coming next. In a marathon first at-bat, he saw pitches clocked at 91, 68, 74, 69, 91, 78, 73, 74 and 91 mph. Bonds lined out, singled and popped out against Arroyo.
The crowd of 30,080 gave rookie reliever Jon Coutlangus a standing ovation after he got Bonds on a called third strike to end the eighth inning.