Bonds Relishes No. 756

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By JANIE McCAULEY
The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 8, 2007; 10:59 PM

SAN FRANCISCO -- A king without his crown _ what a strange sight. A day after his most remarkable triumph yet, Barry Bonds had no cap. And he already was late for the team photo.

"I don't have a hat," the slugger said loudly, moments before rushing from the clubhouse to right field to take the picture. "I need a hat."

On cue, longtime Giants equipment manager Mike Murphy scurried across the grass to deliver the necessary item to No. 25.

With his 756th home run out of the way and the most hallowed record in sports now his own, Bonds could finally turn his attention to more than hitting homers.

Bonds was in the lineup Wednesday night, batting cleanup and playing left field against the Washington Nationals _ and he stepped in and hit another one during his first at-bat.

He received a warm standing ovation when he ran out to his spot in left for the first inning and tipped his hat and waved before blowing on his hands to get warm on another cool summer night in the Giants' ballpark by the bay when first-pitch temperature was 62 degrees.

Bonds smiled and nodded his head to some fans on his way to the on-deck circle in the first, then wasted no time adding to his record total.

No. 757 was a two-run shot into McCovey Cove. In his first at-bat since becoming home run king, Bonds sent a 1-1 pitch from Tim Redding into the bay beyond the right-field fence, a 438-foot drive that was his 35th career splash hit and second this year.

Redding became the 447th pitcher to surrender a home run to Bonds after Mike Bacsik served up the record-breaker a night earlier. Bonds hit his 23rd homer of the season, then tipped his cap when he came out in the top of the second to play left field.

When Bonds broke Mark McGwire's single-season record with No. 71 in 2001, he homered again in his next at-bat to increase the record just like this time. The only difference was he had a night in between the at-bats.

From the White House, to international home run king Sadaharu Oh in Japan, to his first major league manager, Jim Leyland, and onto Alex Rodriguez, the congratulations began to pour in for the San Francisco star, who realized in recent weeks just how difficult it is to clear the fences when that's all you're trying to do.

"Now, the hard part's over, and we get to actually go back to our everyday routines and enjoy ourselves," Bonds said.


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© 2007 The Associated Press

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