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Braves Fall, but Homer Record is Safe

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The closest Barry Bonds came to a home run was watching Jeff Francoeur's drive sail over his head into the left-field seats.

Dave Roberts hit a tying, two-run double in the fifth inning and scored the go-ahead run on Ray Durham's single to help the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 4-2 Thursday.

The 43-year-old Bonds went 1-for-4 with a double to left-center and remained at 753 home runs, two shy of tying Hank Aaron's record.

"He took some good swings, just missed a couple pitches, I thought," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Bonds made two nice catches against the wall but extended his homerless stretch to five games and 18 at-bats since connecting twice against the Chicago Cubs on July 19 at Wrigley Field, his 18th and 19th homers this year. Bonds is 3-for-18 since then and 6-for-42 (.143) since singling at Cincinnati on July 5, he is 6-for-42 (.143).

"He got his swings in, and that's all you expect of Barry," Bochy said. "He feels good. That's what's important."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig attended his third straight Giants game, hoping to be present for the historic shots.

Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, will attend San Francisco's weekend games against Florida while Selig is in Cooperstown, N.Y., for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Selig is scheduled to be in Los Angeles starting Tuesday when the Giants face the rival Dodgers.

Back in the starting lineup after a night off, Bonds popped out to third base leading off the second and fouled to the catcher for the second out in the fourth, tossing his bat and catching it in his hand before carrying it in by the barrel.

"Whether he homered or not was the least of our worries," Francoeur said. "We wanted to take three out of four here but we weren't able to do it."

Bonds said before the game he doesn't think he's overswinging. He made his exit afterward balancing a box of bats on his head with his left hand.

"I've just got to take myself back a little bit," he said. "It's hard to explain what's going on inside right now. I can't explain it. It's a little more complicated than that. There's too many things in your head to just narrow it down to one thing, one statement."

San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds gets applause as he leaves the game in the seventh inning against the Atlanta Braves during their baseball game in
Bonds flied out to left ending the fifth, then doubled in the seventh before calling it a day. Fred Lewis pinch ran for him then took over in left field.

The only thing Bonds pulled on this day was a 6-year-old's front tooth.

Before the game, Bonds put his hat on backward and served as the pitcher for the family softball game. His 8-year-old daughter, Aisha, swung successfully from both sides of the plate.

That was after Bonds took out the dangling right front tooth of Cole Roberts, Roberts' son.

"Barry pulled my tooth," the boy told everybody, holding the tooth in his hand, showing off the new window in his mouth and saying it hurt a little bit. "The tooth fairy brought me five dollars when I lost the other one three days ago."

The Giants changed the "Road to History" logo on the padding in left behind Bonds' spot yet again. Banners are rolled and ready to be unfurled from the light posts on either side of the main scoreboard in center field when Bonds breaks Aaron's mark.

Bonds' teammates are happy to be sharing the load lately.

"Hopefully it's coming around," said Ryan Klesko, who had two hits batting behind No. 25. "We're getting some clutch hits, and it's something we need. ... He's anxious, especially at home. He wants to do it for the fans. There's a lot of pressure. It's tough to relax with lots of stuff going on."

As for the rest of the game, Tim Lincecum (6-2) won his fourth straight decision and is unbeaten in six starts since a loss at Milwaukee on June 19.

"You're not going to drive in too many off that Lincecum, I'll tell you that," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "We hit some balls hard off him but he really has some outstanding pitches -- his fastball, changeup, breaking ball."

Omar Vizquel added an RBI double as the Giants salvaged a split of their four-game series after dropping the first two contests, including a 13-inning defeat Tuesday night.

Francoeur hit a two-run homer as the Braves got three extra-base hits off Lincecum in the fourth. Andruw Jones and Scott Thorman both doubled, but the rookie right-hander got an inning-ending double play and allowed only one more hit the rest of the way.

Lincecum gave up six hits -- five for extra bases -- and two runs, struck out five and walked two in six innings. Brad Hennessey finished for his eighth save in 10 chances.

"It's going well, especially after those four or five starts that were really rough for me," Lincecum said. "You have to take what you can from those games and move on."

Buddy Carlyle (5-3) lost for the first time in six starts.

Francoeur, the Braves' right fielder, made a pretty throw to second baseman Kelly Johnson, who nailed Roberts at the plate to end the third inning after Roberts tried to score from first on Randy Winn's double.

Notes

Francoeur made his 13th outfield assist, most in the NL. ... The Giants' Kevin Frandsen stole his first career base in the eighth. "I wanted to do the Rickey Henderson. I was about to pick it up and make sure everybody knew," Frandsen joked. ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones was held out of the starting lineup after tweaking his groin Wednesday night. ... The Giants had their 25th home sellout.


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