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Bonds’ HR trip hits Route 66

Gwynn’s tip helps Bonds hit HR Nos. 65, 66

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SAN DIEGO — The slugger and the contact hitter ran into each other in a stadium hallway and stopped to chat about hitting.

A few hours later, Barry Bonds hit two homers to become the fastest to reach 66, leaving him four shy of Mark McGwire's record with 12 games to play.

Bonds credited his big day to a talk he had with Tony Gwynn.

"He kind of corrected my swing a little bit today," Bonds said after the Giants routed Gwynn's San Diego Padres 11-2 Sunday.

"He just told me to do the things that I've normally done and go back to getting my hits. I was a little bit too aggressive the first two days here," he said.

"He just made some good, valid points, and I took advantage of them."

After the Padres kept Bonds in the yard the first two games of this series, the slugger quickly resumed his pursuit of McGwire's record of 70 in 1998.

Bonds homered in consecutive at-bats off rookie Jason Middlebrook, tying him with Sammy Sosa for the second-most home runs in a season.

Bonds hit a 411-foot solo shot off the permanent wall in straightaway center on a 2-1 count with two outs in the second inning, giving San Francisco a 4-0 lead.

With one out in the fourth, he hit a high, arching shot on a 2-0 pitch — a 91-mph fastball — that barely cleared the fence in left for a 7-1 lead. Bonds raised both arms in the air as he stepped on home plate.

The homers came in San Francisco's 150th game. McGwire hit his 65th in St. Louis' 157th game in 1998, and his 66th in the Cardinals' 161st. Sosa hit his 66th and final homer of 1998 in the Chicago Cubs' 160th game.

Bonds said he and Gwynn have been friends for years.

"We would have talked no matter what in that situation. We have a lot of respect for each other," Bonds said.

"I'm sure he's singing my praises now because he's gone deep twice," said Gwynn, who's retiring after this season, his 20th.

"You could tell the last couple of days, he's pressing, trying to lift," said Gwynn, who's won eight NL batting titles and has 3,139 career hits. "I just told him to keep doing what he's been doing. Don't let the pressure dictate what type of swing you take."

And it's hardly a surprise to see Bonds homering against the Padres. He's done it nine times this year and 61 times in his career, the most by any opponent.

Can Bonds break McGwire's record?

"How many games does he have against the Padres?" Gwynn answered. "He's worn us out. It all depends. If they give him pitches to hit, he's going to do it.

"One of the things that makes what he's doing so amazing is that no one is really pitching to him," Gwynn said.

San Diego plays three more against the Giants.

"I don't know, because slumps can happen," Bonds said when asked the same question. "I don't want to feel overconfident. I just want to win this division."

The Giants remain two games behind Arizona in the NL West.

Bonds set a major league record with 34 road homers. He started the day tied at 32 with Babe Ruth (1927) and McGwire (1998).

Bonds also broke Ruth's major league record for most homers over two seasons by a left-handed batter. Bonds hit 49 home runs in 2000 to give him 115 in the past two seasons — one more than Ruth had in 1927-28.

With 560 career homers, Bonds is three shy of matching Reggie Jackson for seventh place all-time.