Given a rare chance to swing away with runners on base, Barry Bonds delivered.
Bonds came up with yet another big hit, a two-run double that sent the San Francisco Giants toward a 6-4 win over Los Angeles on Tuesday night and a one-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL wild-card race.
New York 4
St. Louis 5
Bonds, leading the majors in hitting at .373, drew three more walks that boosted his single-season record total to 182. He also lined a two-out drive to left-center field that capped a four-run second inning at Dodger Stadium.
"I'm not telling my team anything," Giants manager Dusty Baker said after his won for the 20th time in 29 games. "I'm just telling them to go out there and play. I really don't have to say very much. They know how I want them to play, they know how to play."
In the American League, Troy Percival loves the feeling.
"I've never been to the playoffs, but I can't imagine anything much more adrenalin-filled than this," he said after finishing Anaheim's 1-0 victory over Oakland on Tuesday night, a game that gave the Angels a one-game lead in the AL West.
"That," Percival said, "was probably the best-pitched ballgame on both sides I've ever seen. Both guys didn't miss a spot all night."
Tim Salmon homered with one out in the 10th against Billy Koch (10-4) to give Anaheim its 17th win in 19 games.
Mark Mulder matched his career high with 12 strikeouts for Oakland, allowing five hits over nine innings. Anaheim's Jarrod Washburn, pitching on three days' rest, gave up three hits in eight innings. Neither pitcher walked a batter.
"It's never something you wish for, to be in a battle like that, but it was a lot of fun out there," Washburn said. "I'm never dominant, but it was just about the best game I've pitched all year. It was definitely one of the highlights of my career so far."
Salmon worked a full count before hitting his 20th homer, a drive deep into the elevated left-field stands.
"It feels great to get the big one in a game like this. I've played my whole career for this," Salmon said. "I can't imagine more intensity than there was out there tonight."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.