Barry Bonds doesn't think there's any special reason why the Giants have surged to the top of the NL West. San Francisco manager Dusty Baker knows better.
"Barry Bonds is the man," Baker said after Bonds' two-run homer, his third in two games, helped power the Giants over the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-1 Saturday.
"He's back in the third spot in the lineup and he's getting the job done," Baker said. "Barry Bonds simply gives us the chance to score runs."
However, Bonds said it's tough for him to think he's the reason for San Francisco's six-game winning streak.
"We've just been playing well lately. That's the reason," Bonds said. "We've gotten some lucky breaks and we haven't been making very many mistakes. When you're going good, you're just going good. We're all playing good. Plus, we're pitching good."
Los Angeles, whose $79.2 million payroll was baseball's second-highest on opening day, has lost six straight for the first time since May 16-21, 1995, and dropped 10 games below .500 (34-44) for the first time since finishing the 1992 season 63-99.
The last-place Dodgers have lost nine of 11 and 11 of 15, falling 10@1/2 games behind first-place San Francisco.
"We need to pitch better. That would help more," Dodgers manager Davey Johnson said.
About two hours before the game, Dodgers players gathered in the bullpen and burned the white caps the club adopted in spring training along with other equipment. Johnson said Kevin Brown and Gary Sheffield came up with the idea in an attempt to change the team's luck.
"We can't afford not to pitch better," Johnson said. "That's our strength. Any kind of consistency has to start with good pitching, but we're not getting it."
Mark Gardner (3-6) beat the Dodgers for the second time in six days, allowing one run and three hits in five innings to win for the third time i four starts.
Bonds, who homered twice in Friday night's 6-3 win, hit a two-run drive in the third off Chan Ho Park (4-7) for a 4-1 lead. Park, whose ERA ballooned to 6.19, was pounded for nine runs, seven hits and four walks in four-plus innings.
"After that home run, Chan Ho just lost it," Johnson said.
Park is 0-4 with a 10.04 ERA in his last five starts.
"I need to find a way to relax," he said. "I'm letting this bother me too much. That's the most difficult thing for me right now."
San Francisco, which also won six straight from April 23-29, took a 2-0 lead on Bonds' run-scoring grounder in the first and Brent Mayne's RBI single in the second.
Jose Vizcaino hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom half, but Bonds' ninth homer of the season made it 4-1 in the third and the Giants broke open the game with a five-run fifth.
Park walked three in the inning, including J.T. Snow with the bases loaded, then hit Ellis Burks and was taken out of the game.
Rich Aurilia followed with a sacrifice fly off Onan Masaoka, Gardner hit an RBI grounder and Marvin Benard had a run-scoring infield single.
Benard went 3-for-5 for the Giants, and Raul Mondesi was 3-for-3 for the Dodgers.
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