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Bonds Ties Mays On Home Run List

Baseball basher Barry Bonds has sought Willie Mays' approval ever since he was old enough to tag along with his godfather in the San Francisco Giants' clubhouse.

Six MVPs, a single-season record 73 home runs, and countless other accomplishments never felt like quite enough. Hitting his 660th homer Monday to tie Mays for third place on the career list has done the trick.

"It was like a weight was just lifted off my shoulders," Bonds said. "It's a relief now to be able to stand next to my godfather and finally feel like I've accomplished something in the game of baseball. It was a big way of getting his approval that I've finally done something."

Bonds hit a towering three-run shot in the fifth inning, sending the Giants to a 7-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. It was an estimated 442-foot blast.

The 39-year-old Bonds was greeted at home plate by several teammates and he stepped on the plate, raised both hands in the air and pointed to the sky.

Mays, who turns 73 next month, hurried to congratulate Bonds, giving his godson a hug and a kiss outside the dugout. Mays presented him with a torch decorated with 25 tiny diamonds, symbolic of the number Bonds wears. They both carried the torch before the 2002 Olympics.

Bonds came back out of the dugout and waved to the fans in each direction as they cheered, "Barry! Barry!" and gave him a standing ovation. The sellout crowd of 42,548 seemed to forget about the steroid controversy surrounding their star slugger and his personal trainer.

"The fans appreciate a good baseball player," manager Felipe Alou said.

Children along the left-field wall bowed to Bonds when he came out to play the field in the top of the sixth. A banner of Bonds was unfurled from the light tower to the left side of the main center-field scoreboard to match one of Mays on the other side.

Bonds, who set the single-season homer record in 2001, went five games without a homer after hitting one last Monday at Houston.

Hank Aaron leads the career list with 755 home runs, followed by Babe Ruth with 714.

Bonds has repeatedly said he'd like to pass Mays at home, and the Giants began a 10-game homestand with a three-game series against the Brewers.