SAN FRANCISCO – Likely for the last time and almost 11 years after playing his final game, Barry Bonds ran out to his old spot in his No. 25 Giants jersey.
“I wanted to be in left field one more time,” Bonds said Saturday night. “And I thought it was appropriate. That’s what I wanted to do.
“I was going to put the whole uniform on, but just didn’t have time because it ran a little bit longer. I wanted to throw on everything and stand in left field one more time. That’s where everyone saw me and that’s where I thought they should see me last,” he said.
Bonds had his number retired by the Giants during a long ceremony before San Francisco played his other team, the Pittsburgh Pirates — also 11 years to the month from when he broke Hank Aaron’s home run record in his 22nd and final major league season.
The Pirates won the game 4-0 after the ceremony.
Still beloved and cheered in the Bay Area he cherishes as home, Bonds finished his career under the cloud of steroids allegations that made him a villain most everywhere else.
“I am overwhelmed with emotions as the reality of this day sets in,” Bonds said. “This may come as a surprise to a lot of people but as a child I didn’t even want to play baseball. I wanted to play all sports — basketball, football, ride my bike, all the things that kids do. But once my mom signed me up . . . I got my first taste of what would be my lifelong passion.”
Now called AT&T Park, Bonds knows what he meant to this place.
“I think the park thing is more to me than the number thing, because I built this park. That’s all,” Bonds said. “When I walk in this ballpark, I know whose house it is.”
Surrounded by former teammates and managers, Hall of Famers and his family, Bonds had no words as he mentally prepared for his number retirement ceremony.
“Shhhh,” the slugger said smiling, then a few minutes later repeated three times, “I have to focus.”
Bonds became the 10th Giants player in franchise history to have his number retired. He finished with 762 career home runs.
“I knew it was coming at one point. No one’s wearing it,” he said. “. . . What they did is fantastic and how they did it was first class.”
In July 2015, Bonds said he had a huge “weight lifted” when federal prosecutors dropped what was left of their criminal case against him after a nearly decade-long steroids prosecution. Bonds needs to be on 75 percent of Hall of Fame ballots to be enshrined in Cooperstown. He was on 56.4 percent of Hall ballots this year, up from 53.8 percent last year. He had just 36.2 percent in his initial appearance.
“Sure, it would mean a lot to anybody, for all the years I’ve worked and what I’ve done, sure,” Bonds said.
The seven-time NL MVP was greeted with a rousing ovation as fans chanted his name. The 54-year-old Bonds waved, clapped his hands and raised both arms to acknowledge the cheers as he made his big entrance from center field.
“Thank you San Francisco, thank you for making all my dreams come true,” Bonds said while remembering his late father, Bobby.
Giants great Willie Mays, Bonds’ godfather, called for the slugger to reach the Hall of Fame.
“When people talk about, ‘Oh, who’s the best ballplayer in the world?’ I don’t care,” Mays said. “I played my 20 years, 22 years, whatever it might be. Give somebody honor that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is a type of fraternity that, when you get there, you’ll say, ‘Man, how did I get here?’ And I want him to have that honor be something that happens to him.”
“Vote this guy in!” Mays added.
Other Giants Hall of Famers Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry also took part in the festivities.
Former managers Jim Leyland and Dusty Baker and current Giants skipper Bruce Bochy were on hand. So were Bonds’ mother, Pat, and his three children.
“Without question he is the best player I ever managed in my 22 years as a major league skipper,” Leyland said. “Let all of us be thankful that we had the opportunity to see one of the greatest players that’s ever lived for so many years.”
The Pirates stood in their dugout and clapped during a ceremony that lasted more than an hour. First pitch was 16 minutes late. R&B singer Johnny Gill performed the national anthem in another surprise to Bonds.
The Pirates’ Trevor Williams and two relievers combined on a six-hitter after the festivities.
Josh Bell homered for the second time in three days and Elias Diaz added two hits for the Pirates after coming in as an injury replacement for Francisco Cervelli.
Buster Posey and Evan Longoria had two hits apiece for San Francisco. Ty Blach (6-7) allowed four runs over four innings.
Williams (10-8) allowed five hits and walked one in seven innings.
Rockies 3, Dodgers 2
In Denver, Ryan McMahon hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the Rockies to the win.
McMahon’s drive off J.T. Chargois (2-4) cleared the right-field wall just above the out-of-town scoreboard. He also hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning of Friday night’s 5-4 victory over the Dodgers.
Nationals 9, Cubs 4
In Chicago, Ryan Zimmerman hit two home runs off a shaky Jon Lester and tied a career high with six RBIs, powering Washington to the win.
Zimmerman hit a two-run homer in the first inning and a sacrifice fly to the warning track in the third. He chased Lester with a three-run drive in the fourth that made it 9-1.
Brewers 4, Braves 2
In Atlanta, Mike Moustakas hit a two-run double in the eighth inning for Milwaukee, and Josh Hader recorded a two-inning save.
The Brewers stopped a two-game slide and pulled within two games of the NL Central lead.
Phillies 5, Padres 1
In San Diego, Philadelphia ace Aaron Nola pitched six scoreless innings, and Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez homered.
Nola (13-3) gave up four hits and lowered his ERA to 2.28 as the Phillies moved one game ahead of second-place Atlanta in the NL East.
Reds 6, Diamondbacks 3
In Cincinnati, pinch-hitter Tucker Barnhart’s two-run double highlighted the Reds’ four-run rally in the eighth inning.
Archie Bradley (3-4) hit Eugenio Suarez leading off the inning and walked Curt Casali with two outs. Barnhart then lined a 3-2 pitch into the gap in left-center, and Billy Hamilton and Joey Votto followed with RBI singles off T.J. McFarland.
Marlins 4, Mets 3 (11)
In Miami, Bryan Holaday delivered a pinch-hit RBI single with one out in the 11th inning, giving the Marlins the win.
Athletics 7, Angels 0
In Anaheim, California, Marcus Semien homered twice and Edwin Jackson pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning.
Mariners 3, Astros 2
In Houston, Ryon Healy had three hits and drove in the go-ahead run for Seattle, and Guillermo Heredia made a spectacular catch to preserve the lead in the eighth inning.
It was yet another win in a close game by the Mariners, who have taken three straight from their AL West rivals and improved to 44-17 this season in games decided by one or two runs.
Indians 3, White Sox 1
In Chicago, Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer pitched two-hit ball into the seventh inning before getting struck in the right leg by a line drive, and Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs.
Bauer gave up one run and struck out eight before Jose Abreu’s liner leading off the seventh struck him high in the back of his leg. The Indians brought in Brad Hand, ending another dominant start. Bauer is 5-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his past eight outings.
Yankees 5, Rangers 3
In New York, with rain pouring off his hat, Aroldis Chapman struck out Jurickson Profar with the bases loaded in a steady storm to preserve the Yankees’ win.
Chapman took over to begin the ninth and the Rangers tried to rally with a walk and a single. With home plate beginning to turn into a puddle, Chapman hit Adrian Beltre to load the bases with two outs.
Chapman fell behind Profar in the count 3-1, then came back to get him to swing through strike three for his 30th save.
Red Sox 5, Orioles 0 (1st)
Red Sox 6, Orioles 4 (2nd)
In Baltimore, J.D. Martinez hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking two-run drive in the eighth inning, and the Boston finished off a doubleheader sweep.
In the opener, the Red Sox’sDavid Price (12-6) struck out 10 over six sparkling innings, and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit two solo homers.
The Red Sox have won nine of 10 to improve their big league-best record to 84-35.
Rays 3, Blue Jays 1
In Toronto, Willy Adames had two hits and drove in the decisive run, helping Tampa Bay to its seventh win in eight meetings with the Blue Jays this season.
Twins 4, Tigers 3
In Detroit, Tyler Austin hit a two-run homer in his Minnesota debut.
Austin was acquired in the July 30 trade that sent Lance Lynn to the Yankees. He was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Friday.
Cardinals 8, Royals 3
In Kansas City, Jack Flaherty struck out nine in seven innings, and St. Louis earned its fourth straight win.