HOUSTON, Texas (REUTERS) — Barry Bonds hit home run No. 70 Thursday night and tied Mark McGwire’s record — a feat even Big Mac thought might last a lifetime when he did it a mere three years ago.
Bonds, son of All-Star Bobby Bonds and godson of home-run king Willie Mays, has three games left to make history all his own.
Bonds, who watched Houston pitchers work around him throughout the three-game series, finally got a chance to swing in the ninth inning. He did not miss, hitting a 454-foot shot into the upper deck in right field off rookie Wilfredo Rodriguez.
Bonds immediately raised both arms in the air as he began a slow trot around the bases. The record crowd of 43,734, which had booed when Astros pitchers walked him, rewarded him with a standing ovation.
His San Francisco teammates poured out to greet a smiling Bonds at home plate along with Bonds’ son, Nikolai. Bonds pointed at his family behind the third-base dugout as he returned to the bench.
With fans still cheering at Enron Field, he came out for two curtain calls. Bonds took his position in left field to start the bottom of the ninth, was mobbed by teammates who were in the Giants bullpen, then was replaced and left waving his cap.
Bonds’ 70th homer marked the second big achievement of the day in the majors. Earlier, Rickey Henderson of San Diego scored his 2,246th career run and broke Ty Cobb’s record.