What a difference a week makes. After struggling to score runs on their recent homestand, the Giants appear to have found the cure for their offensive woes---Minute Maid Park.
One night after battering Houston’s pitching staff for 10 runs, San Francisco’s bats continued to sizzle scoring early and often against Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez.
The offense got things rolling in the top of the first inning. Randy Winn led off with a walk. After Omar Vizquel struck out, the Giants pounded out five consecutive base hits, including RBI singles by Barry Bonds, Feliz, and Matheny to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. Jose Vizcaino then walked with the bases loaded to bring in a run, and Winn followed with a two out single to left, scoring Steve Finley to make it 5-0 San Francisco.
Houston answered back in the bottom half of the inning when Astros slugger Morgan Ensberg belted his 13th home run of the season, a two run shot deep into the seats in left to pull the Astros within three at 5-2.
The Giants erupted for five more runs off of Rodriguez in the fourth. Bonds smashed a single to right to lead off the inning. After a one-out walk by Finley, Matheny hut a liner to center that was misplayed by Willy Taveras, allowing Bonds to score from second. Then with first base open, the Astros intentionally walked Vizcaino to load the bases. One out later, Winn singled off the pitcher knocking in Finley.
That marked the end of the night for Rodriguez as Astros manager Phil Garner brought in Russ Springer to face Vizquel. Vizquel promptly drilled a triple deep to center clearing the bases extending the Giants lead to 11-2.
Lost in the offensive explosion was the effort of Giants right-hander Jamey Wright who turned in another solid pitching performance. Wright (4-3) who came into the game with (0-12) lifetime record against Houston, pitched seven strong innings, allowing six hits and three runs to win his second straight start.
The Giants will go for the sweep tonight against the Astros. Matt Morris (2-4, 6.20 ERA) will be trying to snap as four game losing streak as he goes up against Houston rookie right-hander Fernando Nieve (1-1, 4.85 ERA) @ 5:05 pm.
Game Notes: Barry Bonds went 2-for-4 with an RBI single Tuesday and will get the day off on Wednesday… Lance Niekro sat out his second straight game with a sore shoulder and as a result, Jose Vizcaino started at first base for the Giants….Matt Cain pitched two scoreless innings in relief…… With the win, the Giants improved to 19-5 lifetime at Minute Maid Park…Reliever Brian Wilson is scheduled to be activated from the DL today.
SFDugout.com Player of the Game: Pedro Feliz continued to swing a hot bat with three hits, including his eighth homer of the season. Mike Matheny had three hits and a pair of RBI’s to raise his average to .266. Jamey Wright pitched well yet again to snap his personal 12 game losing streak against the Astros.
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