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Kent, Bonds shove each other in loss to Padres

6/26/2002

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The most startling hit Barry Bonds delivered
Tuesday night was in the dugout, against his San Francisco Giants
teammate, Jeff Kent.

Bonds shoved Kent in the chest during a scrape that spiced up
the San Diego Padres' 10-7 win over the feuding Giants. Bonds hit
his 592nd career homer right after the dustup and the Giants erased
a five-run deficit, but their bullpen blew the lead.

The dispute appeared to begin with Kent yelling at third baseman
David Bell. Bonds became involved and as the argument escalated, he
shoved Kent. Bonds and Kent had to be separated, and TV replays
showed that trainer Stan Conte was holding back manager Dusty Baker after Baker moved from the other side of the dugout to intervene.

Several sources, including a Giants player, told the San Jose Mercury News that Kent snapped at Baker and told him: "I want off this team." Another source said that Kent told Baker: "It's his team anyway, of course you'll take his side."

No one associated with the team was able to verify that version, the Mercury News reported.

Several fans sit within feet of the Giants' dugout. One of them, who asked to be identified only as Scott, told the newspaper that Baker fired back when Kent said he wanted off the team.

"Don't ever say that again," Baker is said to have replied, as he charged at the player. Scott said that, moments later, the hostility gave way to handshakes. Again, no one associated with the team confirmed that account.

Expletives were involved in the argument, Scott told the San Francisco Chronicle. "David Bell and Jeff Kent started throwing F-bombs back and forth," Scott told the newspaper.

Scott was sitting in a small section of field-level seats that are practically inside the Giants' dugout. There is a clear view of the entire dugout from those seats. After Bonds came to the defense of Bell, Kent cursed out Bonds, Scott told the Chronicle.

Bonds has stopped talking to reporters.

Kent said the dispute was "no big deal," and that he's had
other altercations with Bonds in the six seasons they've been
teammates.

"Add this to the half-dozen times we've done it before," Kent said.

Kent also revealed that he once hit a grand slam right after sparring with Bonds.

"Barry and I have played together for five years," Kent said.
"If there is any dislike I don't think we'd be playing together.
So much has been made between the relationship between Barry and
me. We have a good relationship. We have a working relationship
that I think works well on the field.

"I think we do a lot of good things together on the field for
this team that benefit him and benefit me. I think if you guys try
to create a dysfunctional relationship, that's a farce too, because
that's not true."

Baker refused to detail the scrum, saying: "It's nobody's business. But sometimes those things happen."

When asked specifically about Bonds and Kent, Baker said: "It
wasn't even between them. Know what I'm saying? Some guys got into
it. It wasn't even between them."

Remarkably, less than 10 minutes after Bonds and Kent shoved each other, they high-fived each other as Bonds crossed the plate after his three-run homer in the third.

"It happens in your job, too," Baker said. "I've seen sportswriters nearly come to blows in my office. The main thing is we lost the game. We didn't play a very good game."

Last season, when Bonds set the single-season home run record
with 73, Kent criticized Bonds' standoffish nature.

In the bottom of the second, Bell, the third baseman, fielded
Julius Matos' high chopper on the grass and went to second to try
to force Wiki Gonzalez. Kent came off the bag too soon in fielding
the ball, and Gonzalez was safe before Kent could get his foot back
on the bag.

The Padres went on to score four runs in the second for a 5-0
lead.

"It's something that happened on our team," Bell said.
"That's the way it's going to be for me. All I did was field the
ball and throw to second base."

Bonds hit a three-run homer in the third, and Kent connected
leading off the sixth.

San Francisco led 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the seventh
before the Padres rallied for five runs.

Felix Rodriguez (2-4) failed to retire any of the five batters
he faced, allowing three RBI singles, a run-scoring grounder and a
walk.

With both teams batting around in the seventh, the inning took 1
hour, 2 minutes to play.

Rodney Myers (1-0) struck out pinch-hitter Benito Santiago with
the bases loaded to end the Giants' seventh. Trevor Hoffman worked
the final 1 1-3 innings for his 20th save in as many chances.

"What a great comeback," Ryan Klesko said. "No one likes
sitting through the seventh and seeing the lead disappear. There
were just so many changes."

On Monday night, Hoffman allowed Bonds' ninth-inning homer as
the Giants won 7-6.

"It was such a rollercoaster," Hoffman said. "To lose both
would have been really tough."

Bonds homered three times in as many at-bats in the two-game
series, giving him 25 homers this season, and drove in seven runs.

With the Giants trailing 5-0 with one out in the third, Bonds
hit the first pitch he saw from rookie Kevin Pickford, an 88-mph
fastball, into the center-field seats to pull the Giants to 5-3. It
was estimated at 428 feet.

Padres manager Bruce Bochy fumed in the dugout, jumping up off
the bench and kicking at the dirt. Bonds had walked in the first
inning, on five pitches, and the fact that Pickford wasn't as
careful against the slugger in the third inning set off Bochy. Bell
was aboard on a double and Ramon Martinez on a walk.

"We tried to pitch around him and we just seem to make a
mistake," Bochy said. "He's that good of a hitter."

Bonds has 69 career homers against the Padres, his most against
any team, and 37 in San Diego, his most in any road ballpark. Last
season, 11 of his record 73 homers came off the Padres.

Kent's homer leading off the sixth was his 11th, and Reggie
Sanders hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the three-run Giants'
seventh.

Klesko, who missed the previous four starts with a strained
right wrist and forearm, and Mark Kotsay each drove in two runs as
the Padres took a 5-0 lead after two innings off Russ Ortiz.

Game notes
Pickford will be optioned to Triple-A Portland on Wednesday
and INF-OF Mark Sweeney will be activated from the disabled list.
... Bonds struck out looking in the fifth inning, just his 23rd
whiff of the year. ... Bochy brought in rookie left-hander Eric Cyr
to face Bonds with one out and a runner on first in the seventh,
and he walked on four straight pitches.