Giants 2, Rangers 1

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—The San Francisco Giants are about to embark on their longest road trip of the year, one that could define their season with 11 games against division opponents.

A strong homestand should give them some much-needed momentum.

Omar Vizquel hit a go-ahead single with two outs in the eighth inning to lift the Giants to a 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday, completing a three-game sweep.

“It was good, and it gave us a little confidence,” Vizquel said of the team’s 6-3 homestand. “We were playing American League teams. It would be nice if we can play against the National League like that. We have a tough road trip ahead of us that’s going to decide where we stand.”

Little-used Jason Ellison hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the Giants’ first run in the second and scored on Vizquel’s single to right off Francisco Cordero, who relieved Scott Feldman (0-2) after he allowed Ellison’s leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt by Eliezer Alfonzo.

Cordero came in to face pinch-hitter Jose Vizcaino with one out, and Vizcaino grounded out to shortstop to move Ellison to third.

Jonathan Sanchez (2-0) recorded two outs in the seventh for the win, getting Mark Teixeira to ground into an inning-ending double play. Jeremy Accardo finished for his third save.

Texas lost its fifth straight game and has scored only 11 runs during the skid. This marked the Rangers’ first losing road trip of the year (1-5).

“We faced some good pitching, but we’ve got to do better than this,” said Teixeira, mired in an 0-for-15 slump and hitless in four games for his longest drought since Sept. 23-26, 2004. “Jason Schmidt is one of the best. We knew we weren’t going to get seven or eight runs off him. You’ve got to scratch and claw for two or three and we weren’t able to do that.”

The Giants had their first three-game home sweep since April 8-10, 2005, against Colorado.

Vizquel had two hits and Pedro Feliz had a hit and scored a run for the Giants, who faced a left-handed starter for the second consecutive game.

San Francisco leaves town for an 11-game road trip against NL West foes— San Diego, Colorado and Los Angeles—leading into the All-Star break. The trek includes a doubleheader Saturday against the Padres to make up an early rainout.

Schmidt, making his first career appearance against Texas, saw his winless stretch reach four starts with his third no-decision during that span since winning six straight decisions. He still has a six-game home winning streak.

After allowing a leadoff single to Gary Matthews Jr. to start the game, Schmidt got nine straight outs before Mark DeRosa’s triple to right-center leading off the fourth. DeRosa scored to tie the game at 1 on Teixeira’s fielder’s choice after third baseman Feliz booted a routine grounder by Michael Young for an error.

Feliz was part of a great play in the fifth, when the Giants turned a rare 5-6-4 double play. Feliz charged John Koronka’s bunt, threw to shortstop Vizquel covering third, then Vizquel fired to second baseman Ray Durham at first to get the pitcher.

“That’s a big lift for everybody,” Schmidt said. “I was pumped up. That’s the kind of defense they’ve played all year.”

Schmidt escaped a jam in the seventh.

With runners on first and second with one out, he got pinch-hitter Jason Botts to fly out, then ended the threat when Matthews grounded out.

Feliz doubled to start the second for the Giants, moved to third on Steve Finley’s flyout and scored on Ellison’s sacrifice fly.

“It’s great to be able to get a chance to play and do something with it,” Ellison said.

Barry Bonds got the day off for San Francisco following a night game Wednesday after having appeared in 11 straight contests, not all starts.

Koronka allowed four hits and one run in six innings, struck out two and didn’t walk a batter, but he hasn’t gone more than 6 1-3 innings in his last six outings—though he’d won his previous two starts.

Texas concluded a stretch of 15 straight games against the NL West, going 6-9—2-7 on the road.

“We didn’t have many opportunities,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “Scoring five runs in three games, there’s not much to evaluate. We’re better than that.”

Notes

The Giants finished interleague play 8-7 and had their first winning homestand since May 8-14 (4-3). … Durham grounded into his team-leading 13th double play to end the first. Former C A.J. Pierzynski holds the franchise record with 27 in 2004. … The Rangers acquired minor league LHP Daniel Haigwood and cash from Philadelphia for LHP Fabio Castro. Texas also reinstated RHP Josh Rupe from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma, and released INF Marshall McDougall from the Oklahoma squad. … Ellison drove in his third run of the year. … Schmidt threw two wild pitches.

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