Bonds enjoys watching Giants' Game 1 stars

Bonds enjoys watching Giants' Game 1 stars

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds was in the house for Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night at AT&T Park, seated in his usual seats just behind home plate, and was thrilled to see the performances turned in by Barry Zito and Pablo Sandoval.

"It's great for Barry because I know how hard he worked to get to this point," Bonds said in a phone interview Thursday about the left-handed pitcher who was the winner in the Giants' 8-3 victory over the Tigers. "It was a tough go for him, but he worked his way through it."

Bonds, Major League Baseball's all-time leader in home runs with 762, said he marveled about Sandoval's three-homer performance.

"I can't believe what a great player Pablo has turned himself into," Bonds said.

Zito signed his seven-year, $126 million contract just in time for the 2007 season, Bonds' last in a big league uniform and the year he passed Hank Aaron to take over first place on the all-time home run list. Zito struggled until this season when he finished 15-8 and helped the Giants to a seven-game victory over St. Louis in the National League Championship Series with his Game 5 win. The Giants were down 3-1 in the series at the time.

Sandoval fought through a hand injury this season and hit only 12 homers. He has six already this postseason entering Game 2.

Sandoval was on the bench and Zito wasn't even on the roster when the Giants defeated the Rangers in five World Series games two years ago.

"I'm so happy for both of them that they are contributing this time around," Bonds said.

Bonds flew home to Los Angeles after the game because of family commitments, but said he'd be back in San Francisco if the series returns for Games 6 and 7 next Wednesday and Thursday.