The Houston Astros knew their surging offense would cool down sometime. It stands to reason that it happened in San Francisco.
After recording their lowest run total in more than two weeks, the Astros look to bounce back on Wednesday when they continue their four-game series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park, where they haven’t had much success lately.
Houston (22-18) opened May with nine wins in 10 games thanks to one of the hottest offenses in baseball. The Astros averaged 6.1 runs and hit .306 in that stretch, which included a 7-3 victory in the opener of this series on Monday night.
However, that win was a rarity for the Astros at AT&T Park. The Giants evened this series with a 4-2 victory on Tuesday—their 15th win in 20 home games against the Astros since the beginning of the 2002 season.
San Francisco had several bloop hits and took advantage of some defensive miscues by Houston.
“We kind of fell all over the place tonight,” Astros manager Cecil Cooper said. “We didn’t have an error, but we didn’t make the plays we should have.”
Giants starter Matt Cain pitched eight strong innings and hit his second home run of the year as San Francisco got its third win in four games following a season-high five-game skid.
Fred Lewis got the Giants off to a strong start, leading off their three-run first inning with a triple. On the anniversary of the game in which he hit for the cycle last season, the speedy outfielder was 3-for-4, falling a home run shy of accomplishing the feat on May 13 for the second consecutive year. He flied out to center in the seventh in his final opportunity.
“I was really thinking about it,” he said. “They didn’t want to pitch to me. I was like, man, I’ve got to do this again.”
Lewis is 5-for-8 in this series and 12-for-32 (.375) lifetime against the Astros.
He’ll try to continue that success against Houston starter Brian Moehler (1-0, 4.26 ERA), who’s hoping to build on an impressive outing on Friday night. Though it was his first start since Sept. 29, 2006, the right-hander scattered five hits in five scoreless innings of a 7-1 victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I wasn’t concerned about my pitch count. I just wanted to see how deep I could get into the game because I didn’t want to tax our bullpen,” Moehler said. “I was just trying to keep the ball down, pitch to contact and let our defense make the plays behind me. Obviously I’m getting a little stiff, but I felt fine physically.”
Moehler has struggled against the Giants, going 1-1 with a 10.80 ERA in four career games—three starts—against them.
He’ll match up against San Francisco left-hander Patrick Misch (0-0, 5.63), who’s still looking for his first major league win despite having made 22 career appearances, including six starts.
Misch gave up four runs in six innings of San Francisco’s 7-4 loss to Philadelphia on Friday night. He’s making his first career appearance against the Astros.
He could get a rude welcome from Houston’s Lance Berkman, who extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a third-inning single on Tuesday. The switch-hitting first baseman, who entered this series with a career .213 average at AT&T Park, is batting .587 (27-for-46) with five home runs, 15 RBIs and 17 runs scored during his streak.