SAN FRANCISCO — Just mention Pacific Bell Park and what’s the first image that comes to mind? Barry Bonds plopping balls into the water, of course.
Funny thing about that picture: It’s out of focus.
Believe it or not, there were fewer home runs hit at Pac Bell this year than any ballpark in the majors. And that’s fine with the Giants as the World Series shifts to San Francisco for Game 3 Tuesday night.
The Anaheim Angels and Giants already have combined to hit 11 homers, by far a record for the first two games of any World Series. After Tim Salmon connected twice Sunday night and sent the Giants to an 11-10 loss that left them with a split at Edison Field, they were eager to return home.
“For all the fans who like to see teams scoring runs and stuff, yeah, it was a great ballgame to watch,” shortstop Rich Aurilia said. “It’s not the typical type of game you want to be involved in. We’d rather see a lower-scoring game.”
“People who have never been to our park probably will be in for a surprise at the kind of hitter’s park it is. It’s not much of one. So I don’t think we’ll see 21 runs scored,” he said.
J.T. Snow, who has one of the Giants’ seven homers, agreed.
“We’d like to get back to our park, play our style of game, keep some of those balls in the ballpark and see what happens,” he said.
Right after Hall of Famer Willie Mays throws out the first pitch, the rules change as Pac Bell hosts its first Series game. No more designated hitter in the NL park, and the Giants like that a lot as the emphasis goes from longballs to small ball.
Minus DH Brad Fullmer, the Angels could be at a big disadvantage — the same scenario AL teams face each other when they go on the road in the World Series.
San Francisco figures to enjoy an edge on the mound and at the plate when Livan Hernandez pitches against Ramon Ortiz in Game 3.
Along with being 6-0 lifetime in the postseason, Hernandez swings a pretty good bat.
Hernandez is at .242 with 99 career hits, including four home runs and 39 RBIs. Plus he’s put down 34 sacrifice bunts, 10 of them this season.
Ortiz is another story. He’s 0-for-14 lifetime, with five strikeouts and no successful bunts.
“We do have a bit of an advantage with the pitchers. Our pitchers are used to hitting and bunting,” Giants manager Dusty Baker said. “Now we’re going back to play National League ball.”
“I don’t really anticipate 11-10 in our ballpark,” he said.
Oh, there was that game at Pac Bell last Aug. 6: Giants 11, Cubs 10.
But Baker’s point was made. Other than that Cubs-Giants affair, there weren’t any games in San Francisco this year when the teams totaled more than 17 runs.
That’s OK with Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia, who learned his strategy in the NL while catching 13 seasons for Los Angeles.
The Angels reflected that style in the first two games. They aggressively ran the bases, including Fullmer stealing home, tried to hit-and-run and bunted.
“We’re not always going to pound the ball,” Scioscia said. “We have to have those little balls. Those guys at the top of the lineup, they worked counts, got on base and definitely set a tone.”
Many of the Angels have played at Pac Bell in interleague games, though they did not visit this year. So they won’t be deceived by the seemingly short distances — 309 feet to right field and 399 feet center.
Odd angles and high walls make it a tough place to hit home runs. There were only 114 at Pac Bell this year, down about 33 percent from other major league ballparks.
Bonds hit 19 of his 46 regular-season homers at Pac Bell, and added a splash shot into McCovey Cove against St. Louis in the NLCS.