SAN FRANCISCO–With a No. 25 plaque hanging in between Willie Mays’ No. 24 and Juan Marichal’s No. 27 down the left field line at AT&T Park, Barry Bonds jogged out to left field in a cream jersey one last time.
Bonds, 54, is still in excellent physical condition and looked like he could strike fear in an opposing pitcher if he wanted to, perhaps more than the Giants’ lineup has of late.
Aside from a 13-run outburst Friday, the offense has gone ice cold this week and was once again a source of frustration as the Giants failed to scratch across a run for their soldout crowd in a 4-0 loss to the Pirates.
“You could feel the crowd and the energy, we just couldn’t get it going offensively,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Despite having another opportunity to gain ground in their division following losses by the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, the Giants squandered the chance and remain 6.0 games back in the National League West.
Though Saturday’s spotlight belonged to Bonds, whose No. 25 became the 10th different jersey number to be taken out of circulation by the Giants, the rest of the evening went off script.
Before suffering their sixth loss in eight games, the Giants held a ceremony that lasted nearly 90 minutes for fans who were reminded there may never be another player like the all-time home run leader. The two-hour, 18-minute game following the ceremony forced fans to remember the Giants are still searching for a permanent solution to the void Bonds left.
While San Francisco experienced its greatest heights as a franchise in the post-Bonds era, the team did so without ever finding a long-term replacement in left field. Since the beginning of the 2007 season, the Giants have started 12 different Opening Day left fielders in 12 years.
Two different players, Alen Hanson and Gorkys Hernández, manned the position during Saturday’s game, but this year’s Opening Day starter in left, Hunter Pence, has been relegated to pinch hit duties.
Though Saturday was circled on the calendar to celebrate the 15 seasons Bonds spent launching balls beyond outfield fences as a Giant, the current iteration of the offense never got off the ground against Pirates starter Trevor Williams.
“Baseball is such a game of momentum and unfortunately it’s been going the wrong way the last week or so,” catcher Buster Posey said. “You hope a game like last night would kind of turn the tide and it still can.”
Like Bonds, Williams is a product of Arizona State and he tweeted this week that he feared Bonds would come out of retirement for the day to hit against Pittsburgh. Though Bonds ran out to left field before the game, he never stepped in the batter’s box and Williams cruised through seven shutout innings.
The Giants’ pitching staff didn’t stack up, as spot starter Ty Blach tossed two scoreless innings before running into trouble. Blach allowed a run in the third and then surrendered a three-run homer to first baseman Josh Bell in the top of the fourth.
“I felt like I had really good stuff, the one pitch was just enough over the plate to where he could leverage it,” Blach said. “I didn’t think it was that bad, but he was able to make a pretty good swing on it.”
Blach lasted four innings Saturday and was relieved by Casey Kelly, a former first round draft pick of the Red Sox who made his debut with the Giants Saturday. Kelly was promoted from Triple-A Sacramento Friday after reliever Derek Law was optioned and threw five scoreless innings out of the bullpen in his first big league action since 2016.
“He mixed four pitches, commanded the fastball really well and has got a good curveball,” Posey said. “The changeup had some movement, he mixed in the slider and it was impressive.”
Bonds acknowledges rough ending
Bonds grinned from ear to ear during Saturday’s pregame ceremony, laughing at stories from former teammates and managers before choking up when reflecting on the role his late father Bobby played in his development.
Once the game started, Bonds met with reporters and was given an opportunity to reflect on the closure a jersey retirement ceremony brought to him after the Giants told him they wouldn’t bring him back for the 2008 season.
“I don’t deny it, I wish I had one more year,” Bonds said. “The way it happened was not right, but it’s okay. I’m okay with that. And I left everything I had on the field, so I’m definitely okay with that.”
Bonds said he takes a greater satisfaction out of walking into AT&T Park and knowing his on-field performance helped the stadium get built than he does out of seeing his retired number alongside those of other Giants legends.
“I built this park, that’s all,” Bonds said. “When I walk in this ballpark, I know whose house this is. It’s our house as a unified city, but I know who did that.”
San Francisco Giants slugger had his number retired Aug. 11, 2018. Here is a look back at his career. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
San Francisco Giants coach Bobby Bonds, left, follows his son Barry, right, off the field at the Giants' spring training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Feb. 25, 1993. (AP Photo/Gary Stewart)
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Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants sits in the dugout prior to a March 1993 game. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds slams the first of three consecutive home runs off of Milwaukee Brewers' starter Cal Eldred while Brewers' catcher David Nilsson, left, looks on in the first inning Sunday, Aug. 22, 1999, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Gary Dineen)
Barry Bonds heads around the infield after hitting his first of two three-run home runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 1, 1993, in Los Angeles. Bonds became the first player to win four Most Valuable Player Awards, capping a record-breaking season in which his 73 home runs set the biggest mark of all. The 37-year-old outfielder, who hit .328 with 137 RBIs for the San Francisco Giants, received 30 of 32 first-place ballots and 438 points in voting for the National League award announced Monday, Nov. 19. 2001, by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
San Francisco Giants player Barry Bonds waves to the crowd after hitting a home run in his first home at bat off Florida Marlins pitcher Chris Hammond during the second inning of their game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Ca., April 12, 1993. The game is the Giants' home opener and the newly-acquired Bonds' first regular season game at Candlestick Park. (AP Photo/Kristy MacDonald)
San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds bats against the New York Mats at Shea Stadium, May 3, 1994. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds jumps to catch a fly ball off the bat of Atlanta Braves' Javy Lopez during fourth inning action in Atlanta, Monday, April 1, 1996. The Braves beat the Giants 10-8. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
San Francisco Giants baseball player Barry Bonds is shown at bat in the 66th All-Star game in Arlington, Texas on July 11, 1995. (AP Photo)
San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds pauses after slamming into the wall when he failed to catch up to a double off the bat of Florida Marlins right fielder Gary Sheffield in the eighth inning of the first game of their National League Division Playoff series Tuesday, Sept. 30, 1997, at Pro Player Stadium in Miami. The Marlins won 3-1. (AP Photo/Jeff Boan)
San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds celebrates on top of the Giants dugout after they beat the San Diego Padres to win the National League West title in San Francisco, Saturday Sept. 27, 1997. The Giants won the game, 6-1, and won their first playoff berth since 1989. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds raises his hands after his second home run of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh inning at 3Com Park in San Francisco in this Aug. 30, 1998 file photo.(AP Photo/Susan Ragan)
This is a June 22, 2001, file photo showing San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds, left, leading off first base in front of St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire in the first inning of a baseball game in St. Louis. McGwire has finally come clean, admitting he used steroids when he broke baseball's home run record in 1998. (AP Photo/James A. Finley, File)
San Francisco Giants Barry Bonds, #25, tosses his bat after getting his 171st walk in the 6th inning, breaking Babe Ruth's 1923 Major League Record for walks in a single season, against the Houston Astros at Enron Field on Wednesday, October 3, 2001. (Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News)
Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants is greeted by his son Nikolai (25) and the rest of his team 04 October, 2001 after hitting homerun number 70 against the Houston Astros at Enron Field in Houston, Texas. Bonds tied Mark McGwire's season record of 70 homeruns in a season. (Jeff Haynes/Agence France-Presse)
San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds connects with the ball for his 71st home run of the season against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Friday, Oct. 5, 2001, at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco. Bonds has the record for most home runs in a season beating Mark McGwire's home run record of 70 set in 1998. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Barry Bonds' mother Pat holds a copy of the Mercury News Ballpark Extra minutes after Bonds broke the season home run record Friday October 5, 2001.
San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds hits his 72nd home run of the season October 5, 2001 at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco, surpassing his first inning record when he broke Mark McGwire's record of 70 with his 71st home run. The Giants' slugger hit both home runs off Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher Chan Ho Park, his 72nd in the 3rd inning. REUTERS/Lou Dematteis
Barry Bonds jokes with teamates on the bench the day after he set the HR record of 72. Pitcher Kirk Rueter is behind him. The Giants loss the game to the Dodgers, 6-2. (Gary Reyes/Mercury News)
San Francisco Giants' left fielder Barry Bonds has a laugh with Milwaukee Brewers' first baseman John Vander Wal between innings of a spring training game Saturday, March 8, 2003, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Barry Bonds holds up the 2003 MVP award that he received prior to the start of the San Francisco Giants game against the Milwaukee Brewers on Opening Day in San Francisco, Monday, April 12, 2004. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds waves to the crowd after receiving Silver Slugger award on opening day ap Pac Bell park in San Francisco, Monday, April 7, 2003. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds catches a liner hit by Quinton McCracken of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the third inning , Friday July 9, 2004 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Dino Vournas)
Home run record holder Hank Aaron greets San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds before the start of the All-Star Home Run Derby in Houston, in this July 12, 2004 file photo. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Fans cheer on Barry Bonds after he hits a homerun on the bottom of the 5th of the season opener at the SBC Park in San Francisco on Monday afternoon. Giants beat against Milwaukee Brewers 7-5. (Joanne Hoyoung Lee/Mercury News)
San Francisco Giants left fielder Barry Bonds holds his glove up after making a sliding catch of a fly ball hit by Los Angeles Dodgers' Ramon Martinez in the fourth inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles on Sunday, July 9, 2006.(AP Photo/Francis Specker)
San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds (25) runs the bases after hitting his 750th career home run off Arizona Diamondbacks' Livan Hernandez in the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 29, 2007, in San Francisco. The hit puts Bonds within six of breaking Hank Aaron's home run record. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Barry Bonds hits home run number 754 in the first inning against the Florida Marlins at AT&T Park in San Francisco on July 27, 2007. Marlins pitcher was Rick Vanden Hurk. Bonds is one home run away from tying Hank Aaron's all-time home run record. (Mercury News/Gary Reyes)
San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds follows through on his swing for his record-setting 756th home run in the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at AT&T Park in San Francisco California, Tuesday, August 7, 2007. (Paul Kitagaki Jr/Sacramento Bee/MCT)
Fans celebrate Barry Bonds' home run No. 756 against the Washington Nationals in the fifth inning at AT&T Park in San Francisco on August 7, 2007. Barry Bonds breaks the all-time home run record set by Hank Aaron in 1974. (Gary Reyes/Mercury News)
Barry Bonds acknowledges the cheers of the 43,154 spectators who witnessed his 756th career home run to break Hank Aaron's career home run record. Washington Nationals at San Francisco Giants, Aug. 7, 2007, AT&T Park, San Francisco. (Gary Reyes/Mercury News)
San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds waves goodbye as he leaves the baseball game at the end of the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres, Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2007 in San Francisco. It was the last time that Bonds played as a San Francisco Giant in San Francisco. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)
Barry Bonds leaves the Federal Courthouse in San Francisco, Calif. on Friday, Dec. 16, 2011 following his sentencing for his obstruction of justice conviction in connection with the Balco steroids scandal. He was sentenced to two years probation, 30 days of home confinement and 250 hours of community service. (Gary Reyes/ Mercury News)
Barry Bonds reacts to a fan in front of the Federal Building in San Francisco after a federal jury found him guilty of obstruction of justice on April 13, 2011. A mistrial was declared on three perjury charges. The jury had been in their fourth day of deliberations on the case. Bonds was found guilty of one count of obstructing justice for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury about knowingly using steroids back in 2003. (Gary Reyes /Mercury News)
Miami Marlins batting coach Barry Bonds greets Lou Seal at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, April 22, 2016. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)
Former San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds joins Willie Mays on the field before the start of the home opener at AT&;T Park in San Francisco, Calif., Tuesday, April 3, 2018. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Former San Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds talks to Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (30) following the Warriors 121-116 win over the New Orleans Pelicans for Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
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