Just when you thought (hoped?) that the wheels had completely fallen off Barry Bonds' run at Hank Aaron's all-time home run record, the San Francisco Giants slugger reminds you of the inevitability of the whole thing. Last night, he hit No. 747 of his career, a two-run shot against Toronto in San Francisco, to move within eight of Hammerin' Hank.

It was Bonds' first home run of the month and only his second since May 8. The 42-year-old has 13 for the season but most of those came in the first month. Since that May 8 shot, he had gone 77 at-bats (108 plate appearances, so there were a lot of walks in there) with just the one round-tripper on May 27.

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At this pace -- and really, he could hit a streak any time -- he wouldn't reach the historic home run until late August. His blast last night, nearly 440 feet to the stands in right-center in the bottom of the fourth inning, helped the Giants win, 4-3.

Toronto manager John Gibbons summed it up: "You know it's just a matter of time. He's going to get it against somebody." Last night, he got No. 747 against former Oriole Josh Towers.

* Meanwhile, the Orioles were off yesterday but have an opportunity to jump start their lethargic offense when the Washington Nationals pull into town for a three-game series. The Nationals, nine games under .500 and last in the NL East, have a 4.57 team ERA. However, that also happens to be slightly better than the team ERA of the Colorado Rockies, against whom the O's scored just one run in the final 18 innings of the last series. Sort of interesting will be whether the Sony JumboTron scoreboard goes the way of the Orioles' bats. The Maryland Stadium Authority reports that Camden Yards' 15-year-old big screen is on its last legs, and it seems the fix-it guys have run out of places to scrounge a key part.

* And WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw, a forward with the Los Angeles Sparks, unexpectedly quit basketball yesterday. She gave no reason for her retirement. Holdsclaw, 29, has had a bumpy pro career despite having been a six-time All-Star. After a spectacular collegiate career at Tennessee, she was drafted No. 1 overall in 1999 by the Washington Mystics and was Rookie of the Year. She played in Washington for seven seasons but then suffered from depression and asked to be traded. Holdsclaw then played in Spain for a while. She had been in Los Angeles for two years and in the first five games this year, she was averaging 15.8 points and 5.6 rebounds.

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