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Bonds Begins 400-400 Club

The spotlight on home-run records was elsewhere Sunday, as it has been all season, when Barry Bonds made a little long-ball history himself.

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  • With his 26th homer of the year, Bonds became the first player to hit 400 home runs and steal 400 bases. He also helped the San Francisco Giants gain ground in the National League wild-card race by beating the Florida Marlins 10-5.

    The unprecedented milestone earned Bonds a bucket of champagne, a bottle of Crown Royal, two cigars, a standing ovation by Marlins fans and a nice note from his former manager, Jim Leyland.

    But Bonds laughed when asked to compare his achievement with the assault on Roger Maris' home-run record by Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

    "This is nothing," Bonds said. "I've got nine writers standing here. McGwire had 200 writers when he had 30 home runs.

    "What they're going through is huge. You have two players who might break the record in the same year. That's crazy!"

    Bonds reached his unprecedented milestone in the second inning by pulling a knuckleball from Kirt Ojala over the right-field wall. The homer gave Bonds 400 in a 13-year career to go with 438 stolen bases, but Ojala wasn't even aware of the milestone.

    "I had

    Barry Bonds
    no idea," said Ojala (1-3). "I never read the papers. I didn't know he was sitting on 399 until he was running the bases. I guess it must have been a pretty big home run for him."

    The accomplishment won't be matched anytime soon. Only three other players hit 300 homers and stole 300 bases -- Willie Mays (660 homers, 338 stolen bases), Andre Dawson (436 and 314) and Bonds' father, Bobby (332 and 461).

    "I don't think people realize what a great feat this is," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "It's a combination of speed and power and durability. To run that much and hit that much, you've got to be in tremendous shape for a long time."

    At 34, Bonds still makes the game look easy, and with one out and the bases empty in the second inning, he connected on a 1-1 pitch to give San Francisco a 4-0 lead. The crowd of 36,701 -- third-largest this season at Pro Player Stadium -- roared as Bonds circled the bases. When the sometimes-sullen slugger crossed home plate, he tipped his cap and grinned.

    Leyland, sitting in the Marlins' dugout, tipped his cap to Bonds. The outfielder spent his first seven major-league seasons hitting homers for Leyland in Pittsburgh.

    "I saw his first. I saw his 400th," Leyland said.

    After the game, Bonds sat at his locker, celebratory champagne chilling at his feet as he read aloud a note from Leyland.

    "I hope our paths will still be crossing when you hit your 500th," it said.

    Bonds, who ranks 27th on the career home-run list, also reached the 300-homer milestone against the Marlins on April 30, 1996. He likes the idea of hitting No. 500 against them.

    "Yeah," he said with a grin, "if the Marlins are still here."

    There were two other homers Sunday against Florida, by Bill Mueller and Charlie Hayes. Kirk Rueter (13-9) allowed five hits and three runs in seven innings for the Giants, who improved to 8-0 this year against the Marlins.

    San Francisco closed to within three games of the New York Mets, the NL wild-card leaders. The Giants and Mets begin a three-game series Tuesday at San Francisco, and those games will be especially important for Bonds, who has yet to play in a World Series.

    "That's probably the only thing that's really left for me," he said. "Everything else is an added notch to an outstanding career for an individual person, but I'd like to win something as a team. I've done enough individual things."


  • The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are seeking a new general manager, received permission to talk with Gary Hughes , Florida's vice president for player personnel. The Dodgers also plan to interview Marlins general manager Dave Dombrowski .
  • Bonds is 7-for-16 with three homers this season at Pro Player Stadium.
  • Bonds made a sliding backhanded catch of John Cangelosi's sinking liner in left field to start the fourth.
  • Go figure: Florida's Edgar Renteria is 17-for-19 in stolen-base attemptin day games, but just 22-for-39 at night.
  • Saturday's 10-inning loss dropped Florida to 4-14 in extra innings.
  • Rueter singled twice, raising his average to .250.

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