October 05, 2001 10:36 AM

To a standing ovation and chants from the crowd of “Barry! Barry!,” San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds ran into the record books Thursday night at Houston’s Enron Field. Having finally received a substantial pitch, Bonds sent home run No. 70 sailing into the right-field upper deck of the stadium, tying St. Louis Cardinal Mark McGwire’s single-season home run record of 70. (The McGwire record, set in the taut 1998 season during which both he and Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa dueled for the record, surpassed the 61 homers hit by Roger Maris in 1961.) “It was electrifying,” Bonds said. Frustrated after drawing eight walks and being hit by a pitch in three days in Houston, Bonds broke into a big smile and slow trot after leading off the ninth inning with a 454-foot shot against rookie Wilfredo Rodriguez. “I was happy I made contact. It’s hard to just take pitches all the time,” he said. “You really don’t have an opportunity to swing.” 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. (The Giants, who beat the Houston Astros 10-2 to stay in the NL West chase, are due to begin a series against Los Angeles at home on Friday night.) Bonds’s teammates poured out to greet him at home plate along with young Nikolai Bonds, whose 37-year-old father hugged him tight at the plate. Bonds then pointed to his wife and two daughters behind the third base dugout as he returned to the bench, smiling and waving his cap. “Everybody was telling me just be patient, be patient. I’m glad it’s over. I’m glad my family was here. My wife gets to sleep now,” Bonds said.

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