PHILADELPHIA Barry Bonds is heading home, one behind the Babe.
Bonds hit his 713th homer Sunday night, moving within one of tying Babe Ruth for second place on baseball's career list.
"It's overwhelming right now," Bonds said. "It's a little bit larger than a single-season home run record. It's big. It's really, really big."
The San Francisco Giants' slugger hit a mammoth shot in the sixth inning off Philadelphia right-hander Jon Lieber, sending a 2-1 pitch off the facade of the right-field upper deck during a 9-5 loss to the Phillies.
"They tell me that's the way the Babe used to hit them," Giants manager Felipe Alou said.
Bonds' fifth homer of the season was estimated at 450 feet, one of the longest ever at Philadelphia's hitter-friendly park. He needs 42 to tie Hank Aaron for the major league record.
"About tore that golden arches sign down out there," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'm glad he's leaving town, too, because he's about to get hot."
The solo homer cut the Phillies' lead to 5-3, but they soon broke it open and pushed their winning streak to eight games for the first time in 15 years.
The last time Philadelphia won eight in a row was a 13-game run in 1991.
The Giants were headed back to San Francisco to begin a homestand, but Bonds is not expected to play Monday night.
Bonds had been held in check since arriving here on Friday. He went 3-for-9 in Philadelphia's three-game sweep with a pair of singles. He had gone 11 at-bats since his previous home run Tuesday against San Diego.
As he took his slow trot around the bases, some of the Phillies fans who had been needling Bonds with boos and derisive chants throughout the series stood up, cheered and clicked photographs.
He struck out swinging in his next at-bat against reliever Aaron Fultz in the eighth inning, sending many fans heading for the exits. He was taken out of the game before the bottom of the inning, replaced in left field by Jason Ellison.
Carlos Oliveras caught the home run ball, specially marked to assure authenticity. The 25-year-old Oliveras, an Airman 1st Class who lives on McGuire Air Force Base in Fort Dix, N.J., paid $20 for his seat in Section 202, Row 7.
He said he is a Bonds fan and would probably keep the ball.
"I never thought I was going to be lucky like that," Oliveras said.
It was Bonds' fourth career homer off Lieber. But the seven-time NL MVP came into the game 5-for-36 (.139) against the right-hander, his lowest batting average against any pitcher he had faced at least 15 times.
With his mother cheering in the stands, Bonds pumped his fist as he returned to the dugout, perhaps trying to inspire a slumping Giants team that had lost three straight, six of seven and eight of 11.
|Utah Valley U||64|
|(5) South Carolina||67|
|(14) NC State||79|
|(11) Penn State||82|
|(2) Notre Dame||83|
|(19) Michigan State||61|
|(13) North Carolina||73||FINAL|
|(15) Texas A&M||86|
|San Diego State||46||FINAL|
|San Jose St||80||FINAL|