Alou cracks 300th career homer

Alou cracks 300th career homer

SAN FRANCISCO -- After the deluge, it wasn't Barry Bonds who was anointed by the baseball sun gods, it was Moises Alou.

Playing at AT&T Park for the first time this week after successive rainouts, Alou, the Giants' veteran right fielder, hit his milestone 300th career homer on the first pitch from Houston's Brandon Backe with one out in the second inning, sending the Giants on to a 5-3 victory in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

Alou said the response from his teammates was decidedly low key.

"They told me 'congratulations,'" Alou said. "When you have a guy with 700 on this team, there's not too much excitement about 300."

Alou's drive into the left-field bleachers came one pitch after Bonds, batting cleanup, sent Astros right fielder Jason Lane to the indentation in the wall at the 365-foot mark, where he hauled down the towering fly.

For Bonds, who has 708 career homers and has yet to get on the board in 2006, it was his longest drive of the still-young season. But the anticipation from the crowd of 34,267 had barely died down when Alou followed with his blast.

"It's not 800 or 700, but for the Alous it's big," said Giants manager Felipe Alou, acting very much like the proud father, speaking about his ballplaying son. "And it wasn't a cheap homer, either; it was well hit."

Together, the father-and-son pair have accounted for 506 homers in their Major League careers. That's far short of the 1,040 hit by Bobby and Barry Bonds or the 690 belted by Ken Griffey Sr. and his son, Ken Griffey Jr.

"But I think it was very special," the younger Alou said. "We won the game. My three sons and my wife were at the game. They're all going back home tonight. This is my mother's birthday. So it happened on a good day."

Neither Bonds nor Alou were in the second game's starting lineup Thursday evening.

"I'm a little sore right now," Alou said.

Bonds, having his most productive game of the five he's played to date, barely missed a second time when Willy Taveras had to back up to the fence in right-center to grab Bonds' fourth-inning shot hit off rookie right-hander Taylor Buchholz, who was tagged with the loss.

In the seventh, the 41-year-old Bonds lined Mike Gallo's full-count pitch on one hop off the wall near the right-field corner for a single that scored Randy Winn, giving Bonds his first RBI of the season. Alou followed with a sacrifice fly to center, driving in Ray Durham.

Bonds, 3-for-16 (.188) after the first game with no homers and one RBI, remains six homers behind Babe Ruth's 714 and 47 short of Hank Aaron's all-time leading 755.

"I'll take the way he was swinging today anytime," the manager said about Bonds. "I think he's right on it now."

For the younger Alou, it was already his third homer of the new campaign. The 39-year-old is in his 15th season and second with the Giants. Prior to last year, he hadn't played for his father since leaving Montreal as a free agent after the 1996 season. After the game, he was 8-for-22 (.348) with the three homers and nine RBIs.

"I feel like I'm swinging the bat pretty good right now," he said.

Coupled with Bonds, the pair has hit 1,008 career homers. Thus far, all of Alou's homers this year have been struck at home. He hit his first as a pinch-hitter in Friday's rain-swept loss to the Braves and was back in the starting lineup Saturday against Atlanta when he slammed his second during a Giants victory.

On Thursday, Alou became the 112th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the 300-homer plateau. He's currently tied with Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, whose 17-year career (mostly with the Philadelphia Phillies), ended in 1944.

"When you're playing in the Minor Leagues, you never think you're going to hit 300 homers in the big leagues, so it's very special," Alou said. "I know there are guys who have hit 400, 500 or 600. But to me, 300 is a nice number. To do that, you have to stay in the big leagues a long time and that's the thing I'm the most proud of."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.