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BONDS CONTINUES HOME RUN BINGE

Barry Bonds is making up for lost time in a big way.

The San Francisco Giants outfielder hit two homers for the second straight night, giving him 14 in 16 games as the San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-1, Tuesday night.

"He's as hot as a man can get. You come to expect it almost every night," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "I've seen Hank Aaron in a streak like this, but it's been a long time."

Bonds, who missed 47 games earlier this season after surgery on his left elbow, hit 14 homers in August, the most in any month during his career, and all came on or after Aug. 15.

"What's amazing is he has 30 home runs going into September, considering how many games he's missed," Baker said.

Bonds also hit two homers in Monday night's 6-4 win over the Phillies, including a game-winning two-run shot in the 10th inning.

"I've never seen anything like what he's doing," San Francisco's F.P. Santangelo said. "He's playing whiffle ball in his backyard right now. He's making it look real easy."

With 441 career homers, Bonds is one behind Dave Kingman for 22nd on the career list. He has 42 multihomer games, including seven this season and three in the last week, tying him with Ernie Banks and Reggie Jackson for 15th place on the all-time list.

Maddux of old shreds Reds

CINCINNATI -- Over and over again, Greg Maddux insisted his pitching wrist did not bother him. Not in the least. Not at all.

"It didn't hurt," he said, repeatedly and emphatically.

He understood why the question kept coming. Only 10 days after he fell and chipped a bone in his wrist, Maddux was throwing like a four-time Cy Young winner.

Maddux pitched seven shutout innings, allowing only six hits, as the Atlanta Braves received some reassurance and added to their first-place lead with an 8-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Atlanta -- winner of 10 of their last 11 -- sports the best record in the major leagues at 84-50 and now leads New York by 3 1/2 games in the NL East. The Mets lost to Houston, 6-2.

Better yet, the Braves feel a whole lot better about Maddux, who gave them a scare when he hurt his right wrist while chasing a foul pop-up on Aug. 21.

Maddux (17-6) has won his last seven starts. Chipper Jones hit his career-high 35th homer.

Lima wins 18th, Caminiti is hero

HOUSTON -- Jose Lima usually doesn't mind taking the spotlight after a big victory.

But after he became the National League's first 18-game winner, he knew this was not his night.

It was a night for Ken Caminiti, whose grand slam in the eighth inning lifted the Houston Astros to a 6-2 victory over the New York Mets.

"He was the hero," Lima said. "He's the man. He has worked so hard for the team and played such good defense, I'm really happy for him."

Caminiti, who made a throwing error in the top of the eighth before John Olerud's two-run homer tied the game at 2, said Lima was still the key player in the game.

Around the horn

Andy Ashby pitched a five-hitter and the Padres beat the Cubs, 7-3, despite Sammy Sosa's major league-leading 55th homer. . . . Larry Luebbers pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game as the Cardinals ended a seven-game losing streak with a 8-1 win over the Marlins. Mark McGwire was 0-for-3 with two walks and remained at 51 homers, four behind Sosa. . . . Geoff Blum's leadoff home run in the eighth inning spoiled Randy Johnson's 14-strikeout performance as the Expos beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 2-1. Johnson (14-9) lost for the first time in six outings, but raised his major league-leading strikeout total to 315. With six starts remaining, Johnson is 68 short of Nolan Ryan's single-season record of 383. . . . Adrian Beltre hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the Dodgers' 5-3 victory over the Brewers. . . . Mike Benjamin hit an RBI single in the 10th and threw out the potential tying run at the plate to end it, leading the Pirates over the Rockies, 9-8.

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