Ain’t it grand? — National League & American League


With two drives, Barry Bonds suddenly jumped in front of two of baseball’s greatest home run hitters. His first shot gave him more career homers than Mickey Mantle. Then a grand slam pushed him ahead of Mark McGwire’s pace in the chase for the single-season record. Bonds’ five RBIs Thursday night added up to an 11-3 victory for the San Francisco Giants over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bonds hit his 43rd homer, a solo shot in the fourth, to pass Mantle for ninth place. The pair was tied at 536 homers before Bonds went up by two. The San Francisco left fielder was pleased with that, but it clearly isn’t enough for him. Bonds’ 44th homer of the season, a grand slam also off starter Curt Schilling, came in the fifth inning of the Giants’ 103rd game. He became the fastest to 44, topping McGwire, who did it in St. Louis’ 104th game en route to a record 70 homers in 1998. Bonds said that McGwire’s mark is not in his sights. Bonds had gone without a homer and had only two hits in his previous 19 at-bats before his first home run of the night off Schilling (14 5). The slam was the ninth of his career, first since April 26, 1998. Schilling allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings. He had thrown 14 straight scoreless innings before Rich Aurilia and Bonds homered on consecutive pitches in the fourth. Schilling leads the majors in homers allowed with 29. The Giants hit nine homers in two games, including five Thursday. Arizona leads Los Angeles by just a half-game atop the NL West. The Diamondbacks loaded the bases against Livan Hernandez three times in the first four innings, but led only 3 2. Cardinals 3, Cubs 1 McGwire hit two home runs, and rookie Bud Smith pitched seven innings as St. Louis won at Chicago. McGwire has 570 home runs, three behind Harmon Killebrew for fifth place. He has homered in three straight games to give him 16 this season, nine in 15 games since the All-Star break. Smith (3-0) allowed a run on five hits and three walks. The 21-year-old left-hander struck out five, a season high. Astros 3, Pirates 2 Craig Biggio hit a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning for visiting Houston, and Dave Mlicki (2-0) ended his four-game losing streak against the Pirates. Mlicki’s winless drought covered nine starts and four years. Mlicki, who came from Detroit in a June 23 trade, allowed five hits and two runs in seven innings. Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 24th save in 25 chances to keep the Astros three games behind the first-place Cubs in the NL Central. Phillies 3, Mets 2 Marlon Anderson singled to start a two-run rally in the eighth inning, then was carried off the field after an awkward fall in the ninth as Philadelphia beat New York. Jimmy Rollins hit a two-out, tiebreaking RBI single off Rey Ordonez’s glove as the Phillies won their third straight and moved into a first-place tie with Atlanta in the NL East. The Phillies started their 10-game road trip with just their fourth win in 43 games when trailing after seven innings. Anderson’s injury wasn’t as serious as it looked. He only strained his left hamstring and is day to day. Jose Santiago (2-2) got the win, and Jose Mesa pitched the ninth for his 27th save. Expos 3, Braves 2, 10 innings Mike Mordecai fouled off four straight full-count pitches before drawing a bases-loaded walk in the 10th inning to give Montreal the victory. Ugueth Urbina (2-1) struck out three in two perfect innings for the win. Ken Caminiti and Andruw Jones homered as Atlanta lost for just the fifth time in 24 road games. Dodgers 3, Rockies 1 Eric Gagne allowed three hits in 6 1-3 innings and was bailed out of a bases-loaded jam by Giovanni Carrara as Los Angeles beat Colorado. The win was the 11th in 13 games and 21st in 28 for the Dodgers, while the Rockies lost for the 27th time in 34 games. Gagne (4-4) faced just one batter over the minimum in the first six innings. Denny Neagle (6-5) hasn’t won since June 24, going 0-3 in five starts.

Help on the way for Red Sox The banged-up Boston Red Sox have hung tough in the AL East all season. Now, they have some help on the way. With Nomar Garciaparra looking good in his minor league rehab assignment and Bret Saberhagen ready to return to the majors for the first time in nearly two years, Boston beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 Thursday night to remain 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Yankees. Hideo Nomo (11-4) struck out 10 in seven innings to win his fifth straight start, improving to 7-0 at Fenway Park and 10-0 following a Boston loss. Top starter Pedro Martinez and slugging outfielder Carl Everett are still out with injuries, but Boston finally has a few things to look forward to. Garciaparra, on the disabled list all season after having surgery on his right wrist on opening day, doubled off the center-field wall for his first extra-base hit this year as Triple-A Pawtucket beat Indianapolis. The three-time All-Star went 2-for 3 with an RBI and scored a run in the third game of his rehabilitation assignment. He made one error at shortstop. Garciaparra, who has won the last two AL batting titles, is expected to play one more game at Triple-A before being re-evaluated by Red Sox physician Bill Morgan. More than 21 months after his last big league appearance, Saberhagen will pitch Friday night at Fenway against the Chicago White Sox. The two-time Cy Young winner and three-time subject of shoulder surgery said he expects to feel like a rookie. Nomo allowed four hits and four walks, and the Red Sox scored three runs in the seventh inning — two on Manny Ramirez’s 32nd homer — to go ahead for good. Rod Beck got his fifth save in seven chances when Alex Gonzalez hit into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded. Nomo improved to 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA against the Blue Jays this season. He held them hitless in his last five innings as he won his fifth game in July, the most of any AL pitcher. Twins 7, Athletics 4 Tom Prince hit two homers, and Torii Hunter added an inside-the-park home run for visiting Minnesota. Adam Johnson (1-1) earned his first major league victory as the Twins moved one game ahead of Cleveland for the AL Central lead. White Sox 5, Indians 4 Jose Canseco finally figured out Charles Nagy, going 3-for-3 with a three-run homer off Cleveland’s starter to lead Chicago over the Indians at Jacobs Field.