Giants 4, Astros 0
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Manager Bruce Bochy has stressed the importance of everyone generating offense—not just Barry Bonds.
Winn extended his career-best hitting streak to 20 games, Klesko splashed his first homer as a Giant into the bay and Noah Lowry pitched seven shutout innings in San Francisco’s 4-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday night.
“Barry carried us early, so it’s good to see we are getting production throughout the lineup,” Bochy said.
Klesko’s leadoff homer in the eighth was the 43rd splash hit by a Giants player and his second after also reaching McCovey Cove in 2003 with the San Diego Padres. Bonds has 34 of the splash hits. The last San Francisco player other than Bonds to do it was Winn on Sept. 14, 2005.
It was Klesko’s first homer since Sept. 26, 2005, while playing for Bochy in San Diego. And he was beginning to get razzed for it—though Klesko missed most of 2006 after having shoulder surgery.
He made several nice plays at first base, too. Still, hitting the home run took a load off for Klesko, who also had a sacrifice bunt and a double while batting in the No. 2 hole.
“Every time I hit one it seems like it’s a triple,” he said with a grin. “It’s nice to get that first home run. I’ve been feeling good at the plate the last couple of weeks. It’s just a great day today all around.”
Bengie Molina blooped a two-run single in the sixth and Ray Durham also drove in a run with a groundout to help Lowry (5-4) beat the Astros in a rematch of Wednesday’s meeting between the left-hander and Houston’s Chris Sampson.
Carlos Lee doubled twice but the Astros managed little else against Lowry.
“I started off a little out of rhythm, but I found it real quick and was able to stick with it,” he said. “They hit some hard balls tonight but hit them at guys.”
Winn doubled to start the sixth and his streak is the longest by a Giants player since Robby Thompson’s 21-gamer in 1993. It’s also the longest current streak in the majors after Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips’ 22-game hitting streak ended Monday night.
Bonds went 0-for-2 with two walks in his second straight hitless game, still stuck at 745 home runs and 10 from tying Hank Aaron’s career record of 755.
He lined out to right leading off the second then walked on five pitches in the fourth with one out and Klesko on third, drawing loud boos from the crowd. Bonds bounced a short grounder to Sampson in the sixth but first baseman Lance Berkman failed to catch the ball and Bonds reached on the error to load the bases for Durham. He walked again in the eighth.
“That’s how much respect he gets,” Bochy said of the 46th and 47th free passes to the slugger. “We all know and the other team knows he is so dangerous, and he’s still going to get his walks.”
Bonds, coming off a road trip in which he batted .185 (5-for-27) with no homers and no RBIs, hasn’t homered in 11 games since connecting for his 11th of the season May 8 against the Mets’ Tom Glavine.
Bonds has gone 32 at-bats and 49 plate appearances without a homer.
Bochy believes Bonds could end up playing every game of the six-game homestand considering the team has an off day Thursday and another Monday.
Even with Bonds in a funk, Astros manager Phil Garner doesn’t intend to let the seven-time NL MVP beat him if he can help it.
“It still depends on the situation,” Garner said. “The same thing with (Albert) Pujols or any of the better hitters. Unfortunately the home run chase isn’t any different part of the equation for us for us—it’s whether he can beat you.”
Lowry, who followed Matt Morris’ two-hitter Sunday at Oakland, ended a two-start losing streak, allowing six hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Brad Hennessey pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and Armando Benitez pitched a perfect ninth.
“He doesn’t miss,” Houston’s Craig Biggio said of Lowry. “He’s put it together. He pitches us tough.”
Sampson (4-4) won last week despite eight strong innings by Lowry in which he allowed two runs and eight hits. Sampson went six innings Monday, allowing three runs—one earned—and five hits. He got the first hit off Lowry with a two-out single in the third.
Durham returned to the lineup at 2B for the first time since coming out of Thursday’s game at Houston with a strained right groin. … RHP Russ Ortiz came off the disabled list for the Giants and assumed his new role as a reliever after beginning the year as the No. 5 starter.
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