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Giants’ Bonds Hits 63rd Homer

September 9, 2001 GMT

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DENVER (AP) _ Barry Bonds hit three home runs Sunday to give him 63 for the season, passing Roger Maris’ once-magical mark and moving him closer to Mark McGwire’s record.

Playing at Coors Field, Bonds broke Maris’ record of 61 for most homers in a season by a left-handed hitter.

Bonds has 18 games left to break McGwire’s record of 70 set in 1998.

After an off-day Monday, Bonds and the San Francisco Giants begin a series at Houston’s homer-friendly Enron Field.

Bonds hit No. 61 in the first inning to match Maris’ then-major league record 61 homers for the New York Yankees in 1961. Bonds broke the mark with No. 62 in the fifth.

Bonds added a three-run homer in the 11th off Colorado reliever Todd Belitz.

Bonds also became the fastest to reach 62 homers, doing it in his 144th game. Mark McGwire needed 145 games to reach 62 when he broke Maris’ record by hitting 70 homers in 1998.

In the first, on a 1-1 count, Bonds launched a 488-foot solo shot off Colorado’s Scott Elarton. Bonds’ soaring drive struck a beer sign beyond the center-field wall.

It was the third-longest homer in Coors Field history, exceeded only by a 496-foot shot by Mike Piazza and a 493-footer by Larry Walker.

In the fifth, Bonds lined a 2-2 pitch from Elarton that just cleared the right-field wall.

Maris, whose record stood for 37 years, had been surpassed only by McGwire and Sammy Sosa _ both right-handed hitters.

Bonds struck out looking in the third. He had gone homerless on Friday and Saturday.