SAN FRANCISCO -- The New York Yankees, baseball's version of royalty, graced AT&T Park with their presence Friday night. The Giants responded by meekly bowing. Barry Bonds' 749th home run wasn't nearly enough to offset the Yankees' aura -- or their persistent offense, led by Alex Rodriguez's 4-for-4, two-RBI effort. Matt Cain's five rocky innings hastened the Giants' eighth consecutive defeat, a 7-3 setback. Bonds' drive to right-center field leading off the eighth inning against Scott Proctor left the Giants cleanup hitter six short of Hank Aaron's all-time record. Bonds' 15th homer of the season narrowed the difference to 6-3, thrilled the regular-season record paid crowd of 43,425 and gave Yankees manager Joe Torre just cause two batters later to install closer Mariano Rivera, who effectively silenced the Giants.
Although Bonds has accelerated his pursuit of Aaron with two homers in his last 10 at-bats, the Giants' floundering has drained the chase of drama, at least currently. "I don't think anybody is thinking as much about Barry's milestone as much as trying to win a ballgame," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's our focus right now." The Giants could focus on a handful of moments in dissecting this defeat. A fan robbed right fielder Randy Winn of a chance to snare Miguel Cairo's foul fly, which would have limited the Yankees' three-run second inning to one run had the catch been made. Cain appeared to have slipped a third strike past Bobby Abreu in the fifth inning, but the 1-2 pitch was called a ball, leaving the Yankee at the plate to rap an RBI double. Bengie Molina's fifth-inning bid for a grand slam, which would have given the Giants a 6-5 edge, died at the left-field wall. "You can't dwell on those things," Winn said. "We hit some balls hard right at people, kind of weird things that don't go our way. But on the other side, they made it happen. Cairo draws a walk out of that at-bat and off they went. They kind of took advantage of it. You can't sit back and say, 'Woe is me, why can't we get any breaks?' You have to go out and make your own breaks." The Yankees provided an example in the second inning, after Cairo received his reprieve with two outs, a run in and Robinson Cano on first base. "As I was going over to the railing, I kind of hit the fan on the side with my glove. It would have been really close," said Winn, who watched helplessly as the spectator reached over him for Cairo's fly. Cairo walked on a 3-2 pitch, and so did opposing pitcher Kei Igawa, making his first plate appearance of the season. That loaded the bases for Melky Cabrera's two-run single. "It's terrible to walk a pitcher," Cain said. The rest of Cain's outing wasn't much better. He did not record a strikeout for the first time in 54 Giants appearances.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.