08/10/2002 02:14 am ET
Wells serves up No. 600 in win
Not upset with his place in the record books
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Kip Wells won his career-high 11th game Friday night and struck out a career-best eight batters, but almost no one will remember him for that. Instead, he's joined a very short list of notable victims after serving up Barry Bonds' 600th career homer.
Although Wells wrote his name next to George Blaeholder, Mike Corkins and Gaylord Perry as pitchers to give up a 600th homer, he wasn't at all upset to be part of history.
"I had a front-row seat to the whole thing," said the 25-year-old. "I'll take it all in and watch, being that I'm the only guy that can say I gave it up. Of course, I'd like to not have done it, but a guy as good as he is, he's going to get it eventually, and the fact that I came out on top game-wise is all I can ask for."
Wells, who gave up No. 597 last weekend in Pittsburgh, challenged Bonds all three times he faced him Friday night, giving up a single up the middle in the first and then inducing a groundout to second baseman Pokey Reese playing in shallow right after a seven-pitch at-bat in the fourth.
In the sixth, Wells (11-9) got the count to 2-1 before delivering the history-making pitch that Bonds drove over the center-field fence for a solo homer that narrowed the game to 4-3, the eventual winning score for the Bucs.
"I got him out once, and he got me," said Wells. "I'm happy for him that he got it over with, but at the same time, of course, I don't want to be the guy that does it. But I challenged him because there wasn't anybody on and I had a lead, and that's the way I think I should have done it."
The Giants appreciated the way Wells approached the task of facing Bonds, especially as 41,897 fans were eagerly awaiting the homer with flash bulbs popping all over Pacific Bell Park.
"I have to give a lot of respect to Wells," said Bonds. "He pitched good and he gave me opportunities to swing the bat as well."
Said Bonds' teammate Shawon Dunston: "My hat's off to the pitcher, Kip Wells. He went right at him, stayed poised and got the win. He went out there and did his job. He has a lot to be proud of. He gave up the home run, but he beat the Giants and he beat Barry Bonds."
After the blast, Wells had to wait out about a five-minute delay as the crowd roared and fireworks went off over McCovey Cove, the scoreboard and the Bonds home run tote board in right-center. McClendon went out to talk to his young pitcher, who then retired Benito Santiago to end the inning.
"I just told Kip that this was still his ballgame," said McClendon. "What Barry accomplished was tremendous. He hit a good pitch, but you gotta let that go. Block out the crowd. Block out the delay. You still gotta pitch a ballgame. Get your focus back, and make sure you're heated and ready to go."
"It's gotta be a tough thing, sitting out there for however long he sat out there," said catcher Jason Kendall, who said he had the "best seat in the house" for the moment. "At the same time, he came back and did what he had to do. ... It's something special. But he kept his composure and went out and got Santiago out."
While Kendall said it was a 96 mph fastball down, Wells said it was a sinker away and that he didn't feel it was a mistake.
"It wasn't a wonderful pitch, but it wasn't a bad pitch," he said. "He just stayed on it and drove it out of the park. ... I knew he hit well. He hits everything pretty much well. I don't think he cue-balls too many balls or gets jammed a lot. That's Barry Bonds for you."
Closer Mike Williams, who tied the Pirates' single-season franchise record with his 34th save, echoed the sentiment that the team will gladly trade Bonds homers for Pittsburgh victories.
"I hope he hits one tomorrow and they lose again," said Williams, who was with Houston when Bonds tied Mark McGwire's single-season home run record there last season. "It's fine. He can get one back-to-back-to-back days, as long as we win."
For Wells, he has a win in his pocket, but he hopes to get more from Bonds after giving him his milestone.
"I'll be calling over there tomorrow to see what I can get as far as some kind of a token of appreciation for pitching to him," said Wells with a big grin on his face. "I'd like to get some kind of ball or bat that's personalized as far as giving up the 600th home run, because he's a great player. He's going to be in the Hall of Fame. At least in the archives and replays, it'll be me out there giving up the jack."
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.