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Bonds on hold while another Barry is shelled



Published: Mon, July 9, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

Following the Giants’ 7-0 loss in St. Louis, Barry Zito will head to southern California.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Barry Bonds’ chase of Hank Aaron is now on a four-day hiatus. The All-Star break might be coming at a better time for San Francisco’s other Barry — struggling left-hander Zito.

Bonds went 0-for-3 in his final game of the first half and remained at 751 home runs, Chris Duncan drove in three runs for St. Louis and the Cardinals avoided a three-game sweep with a 7-0 victory Sunday over the San Francisco Giants.

Disappointing first half

Duncan’s two-run double in the fifth knocked out Zito (6-9), who ended his disappointing first half with a six-start winless stretch and four straight dropped decisions. That’s hardly what the Giants or the $126 million man himself expected after he received the richest deal ever for a pitcher.

“I think the break will be good for me. I can assess what’s going on, become objective and move forward,” said Zito, whose last win was May 30 at New York. “It’s hard to sum up the first half in a couple of lines. ... Battling yourself is the key to everyone’s failures. It’s not me. It’s the reason anyone struggles in this game.”

Zito will head to southern California to clear his mind and spend time with family — and plans to talk to his father Joe about his first-half problems.

Ryan Ludwick doubled twice, drove in a run and matched his career high with three hits, and Todd Wellemeyer (3-1) won for the first time in five starts since beating the Los Angeles Angels on June 10.

Winner will be bumped

Wellemeyer, who will be bumped from the rotation in favor of Kip Wells to start the second half, pitched five shutout innings. Four relievers finished the five-hit shutout, St. Louis’ first at home this season and third overall.

“I’ve done it for the last three years, so it’s no problem at all,” he said.

“I knew I was going to end up in the bullpen eventually.”

Bonds homered only in the first game of his team’s six-game Midwest trip, Tuesday night at Cincinnati. He is four shy of tying Aaron’s record.

Bonds left the game — when the first-pitch temperature was 90 degrees — early for the third straight day.

The sellout crowd of 44,613 booed when Kevin Frandsen stepped in as a pinch hitter in the eighth, certainly hoping to see No. 25 one more time.

“Well, when they scored another run and it was another long inning, it’s a day game after a night game and I just said, ‘That’s enough,’ ” manager Bruce Bochy said.

Bonds challenged

Bonds walked five times in the first two games of the series, but was challenged each time Sunday. He flied out to left to end the first, struck out swinging on a high, 93 mph fastball to end the third, then flied out to left again to start the sixth.

His pursuit of the Hammer will wait until Friday night, when the Giants open a three-game home series against the Dodgers.

After that, it’s off to Wrigley Field for four games against the Chicago Cubs and then three at Milwaukee — the city where Aaron began and ended his 23-year big league career.


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