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Bonds is in town, so is an old friend

Bonds is in town, so is an old friend

BOSTON -- Friday night's Red Sox-Giants game will start with a very loud standing ovation. It is then that Giants leadoff man Dave Roberts will play his first game at Fenway Park since 2004, when he propelled the Red Sox on a magical postseason run with what is widely regarded as the biggest stolen base in postseason history.

The Red Sox dealt Roberts to the Padres following that '04 season, and he is now playing his first year with the Giants. But Roberts, who played for the Red Sox for a mere three months, will always be regarded as a folk hero in Boston.

"It was such an exciting baseball moment, made better by the fact that he was safe," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "To be part of it, in the dugout, watching, knowing what was going on and the interaction we had before, made it extra fun."

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With the Red Sox trailing the Yankees, 4-3, in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4 of the American League Championship Series and on the verge of being swept, Roberts pinch-ran for Kevin Millar, who led off the inning with a walk. After three pickoff attempts by Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, Roberts bolted to second and was safe by a hair. Bill Mueller drove Roberts in with a single up the middle. David Ortiz hit a walkoff homer in the bottom of the 12th. The 2004 Red Sox never lost again.

"You always say to players, 'Stay ready.' Well, you know what? He did," Francona said. "And for him to do what he did in that situation, and again, it's going to go down in history in Boston and New England, as it should. In my career, it's the single most exciting play I've ever been around. And, because he's such a good kid to boot, makes it extra special."

Considering the huge ovation that shortstop Orlando Cabrera got in his first visit back to Fenway after signing with the Angels, the applause for Roberts should be nothing short of enormous.

"I would be shocked if, when Davey comes up, the place doesn't explode," Francona said. "Hopefully, he'll pop up and go back in and sit down."

The crowd reaction to Barry Bonds -- playing his first career game in Boston -- is likely to be quite different. With 747 career home runs, Bonds is eight away from tying Hank Aaron's all-time record.

Julian Tavarez, who was a member of the Giants from 1997-99, will be the first Sox pitcher to face Bonds this weekend.

Though Tavarez said he never had a personal relationship with Bonds, he appreciated being his teammate.

"He's a good teammate," Tavarez said. "He gets up to play every day. Plays hard."

This will be the first time the Giants have played at Fenway Park during the regular season. The New York Giants faced the Sox in the 1912 World Series, losing the deciding Game 8 by a score of 3-2.

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (3-4, 5.25 ERA)
Tavarez continues to keep the Red Sox in just about every game he pitches as the No. 5 starter. In his last outing against the Diamondbacks, he yielded three runs over six innings, walking one and striking out five. In fact, Tavarez has allowed three earned runs or fewer in six of his last eight starts. Lifetime against his former team, he's 2-3 with a 3.62 ERA.

SF: LHP Barry Zito (6-6, 4.02 ERA)
Zito has won three starts in dominating fashion sandwiched by two awkward losses to his former team. He lost in Oakland on May 18, giving up seven runs in four innings. Over the next 20 innings, Zito gave up one earned run. In losing to the A's in San Francisco on Saturday, he allowed three earned runs on nine hits over four innings.

Player to watch
Ortiz is 10-for-24 lifetime against Zito with two homers and five RBIs.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN

On radio
• WRKO 680, WROL (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Giants (Matt Cain, 2-6, 3.31) at Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 7-5, 4.52), 3:55 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Giants (Matt Morris, 7-3, 2.56) at Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 6-7, 3.92), 2:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Red Sox (Curt Schilling, 6-3, 3.80) at Braves (Chuck James, 5-6, 4.16), 7:05 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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