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San Francisco at Houston

Scoreboard
San Francisco (73-57) «400002000650
Houston (40-90)0120010004101

Giants 6, Astros 4

CBSSports.com wire reports
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HOUSTON -- When Barry Zito had already surrendered seven hits with one out in the third inning, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy knew he needed to get him out of the game.

His early exit forced Bochy to use six relievers to piece together the game and hold on for the 6-4 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

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"The bullpen really picked us up tonight," Bochy said. "Z was a little off and we had to go get him early. They just did a terrific job of picking us up."

Hunter Pence hit a three-run homer and Joaquin Arias drove in two with a triple to help in the win.

Pence has been a nightmare for the Astros since they traded him away in July 2011, hitting four homers in just seven games against his former team with the Phillies and Giants.

The Giants had a 1-0 lead before Pence's 19th homer pushed the lead to 4-0 and elicited the loudest cheers of the night from the sparse crowd.

"It's a nice vibe to play here," said Pence, who spent the first 4 ½ years of his career in Houston. "The fans have always been really good to me, and they're still pretty supportive for the most part. It's humbling to have that support."

The announced attendance was just 13,207, the smallest crowd in the history of Houston's 12-year-old ballpark. The previous record-low came a night before as the Astros struggle to get fans out to see this team that has the worst record in the majors.

Houston cut the lead to 1 before Arias' triple in the sixth inning, which came after an error by the Astros, pushed the advantage to 6-3.

Angel Pagan hit a leadoff double, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a single by Pablo Sandoval to give San Francisco a 1-0 lead. Buster Posey walked before Pence's shot to left-center of Dallas Keuchel (1-7) pushed the lead to 4-0.

Chris Snyder doubled in the second inning and scored on a two-out single by Brandon Barnes to cut the lead to 4-1. Snyder slid in behind Posey to beat the throw home.

Jose Altuve singled and stole second base in the third inning before scoring after consecutive singles by Tyler Greene and Brett Wallace. A sacrifice fly by Jimmy Paredes sent Greene home and got Houston within 4-3.

A single by Fernando Martinez chased San Francisco starter Barry Zito, who was replaced by George Kontos (1-0). Kontos struck out four in 2 2-3 scoreless innings for his first major league win.

"It was awesome -- everything I thought it would be," Kontos said. "When I first came into the big leagues, I thought my first win would be as a starter, but it felt just as good as a reliever."

Zito yielded seven hits and three runs in a season-low 2 1/3 innings. He understood why Bochy lifted him when he did.

"These are must-win ballgames, and I didn't have it tonight," Zito said. "My command was below average for sure. My timing was off and that ended up making my command off. I was very upset with myself."

Javier Lopez got the last two outs for his fifth save.

The loss is Houston's fourth straight and its 11th in the last 12 games. The Giants improved to 16-5 on the road since the All-Star break, which is the best record in the majors.

Keuchel had retired 14 in a row after Pence's homer before Marco Scutaro started the sixth inning with a double which bounced off the wall in left field.

Sandoval drew a walk after that to end Keuchel's night. He allowed four hits and five runs in 5-plus innings.

He was replaced by Mickey Storey, who got Posey to ground into a double play. Pence reached on an error by third baseman Scott Moore before the triple by Arias.

The fly ball by Arias sailed just out of reach of leaping left fielder Martinez and rolled into the corner to score Sandoval and Pence and push the lead to 6-3.

New Astros' manager Tony DeFrancesco was disappointed that Houston let another close one slip away.

"They're playing hard and giving us a chance," DeFrancesco said. "There's a lot of good things happening, and we're playing some good teams that are trying to get to the playoffs."

San Francisco's Guillermo Mota, who was activated from the restricted list on Tuesday after serving a 100-game suspension for his second positive drug test, made his first appearance since May 5 in the sixth inning. Mota, who tested positive for Clenbuterol, which he says was in children's cough syrup, allowed a hit and a walk in 2/3 innings.

He was replaced by Jose Mijares, who promptly gave up an RBI single to Scott Moore to make it 6-4. He walked Altuve to load the bases before striking out pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic to escape the jam.

Moore went 2 for 2 after entering the game in the sixth inning to break an 0 for 21 skid.

Notes

Former Astros star Craig Biggio addressed the team before Wednesday's game at the request of DeFrancesco. DeFrancesco said he wants to teach the young team how the Astros were during their years of success when Biggio played. Biggio wouldn't say what he told the team, but said he's willing to do whatever he can to help this team get back on track. ... Houston LF Ben Francisco was scratched before the game. DeFrancesco said after the game that he strained ligaments in wrist in batting practice and went for evaluation. ... The Giants placed reliever Clay Hensley on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain and activated reliever Jeremy Affeldt from the paternity list. Affeldt pitched a scoreless seventh inning.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Houston

B. Wallace
AB 4
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
San Francisco

H. Pence
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
 
San Francisco Giants
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Angel Pagan, CF4110121 .291
Marco Scutaro, 2B4010012 .285
Pablo Sandoval, 3B3211100 .285
    Santiago Casilla, P0000000 .000
    Javier Lopez, P0000000 .000
Buster Posey, C3100101 .325
Hunter Pence, RF3213100 .260
Joaquin Arias, SS-3B3012000 .283
Brandon Belt, 1B4000013 .261
Francisco Peguero, LF3000010 .000
    Jeremy Affeldt, P0000000 .000
    Brandon Crawford, SS1000000 .243
Barry Zito, P1000010 .075
    George Kontos, P1000000 .000
    Guillermo Mota, P0000000 .000
    Jose Mijares, P0000000 .000
   a- Gregor Blanco, PH-LF1000010 .237
Totals3165647  
a-hit a sacrifice bunt for Mijares in the 7th
Batting
2B - Angel Pagan (29, Keuchel), Marco Scutaro (23, Keuchel)
3B - Joaquin Arias (5, Storey)
HR - Hunter Pence (19, Keuchel)
SH - Marco Scutaro (7), Gregor Blanco (4)
RBI - Pablo Sandoval (43), Hunter Pence 3 (78), Joaquin Arias 2 (29)
2-OUT RBI - Joaquin Arias 2 (13)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Belt-Crawford
San Francisco Giants
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Barry Zito 2.1733010 4.42
George Kontos (W,1-0) 2.2000040 2.08
Guillermo Mota (H,3) 0.2111110 5.56
Jose Mijares (H,13) 0.1100110 3.09
Jeremy Affeldt (H,10) 1000010 2.86
Santiago Casilla (H,5) 1.1100010 2.92
Javier Lopez (S,5) 0.2000000 2.43
Pitches-Strikes - Barry Zito 53-35, George Kontos 34-23, Guillermo Mota 16-9, Jose Mijares 14-7, Jeremy Affeldt 15-11, Santiago Casilla 14-11, Javier Lopez 4-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - George Kontos 1-3, Guillermo Mota 1-0, Jeremy Affeldt 2-0, Santiago Casilla 3-0, Javier Lopez 1-0
Batters Faced - Barry Zito 14, George Kontos 8, Guillermo Mota 4, Jose Mijares 3, Jeremy Affeldt 3, Santiago Casilla 5, Javier Lopez 1
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B4110101 .297
Tyler Greene, SS3110010 .226
    Mickey Storey, P0000000 .000
   a- Brian Bogusevic, PH1000013 .208
    Hector Ambriz, P0000000 .000
    Xavier Cedeno, P0000000 .000
    Rhiner Cruz, P0000000 .000
   b- Jason Castro, PH1000001 .258
Brett Wallace, 1B4021000 .298
Jimmy Paredes, RF3001001 .000
Fernando Martinez, LF4010020 .186
Chris Snyder, C3210112 .193
Marwin Gonzalez, 3B-SS4010013 .235
Brandon Barnes, CF4011011 .174
Dallas Keuchel, P2000021 .063
    Scott Moore, 3B2021000 .227
Totals35410429  
a-struck out for Storey in the 6th
b-grounded into a double play for Cruz in the 9th
Batting
2B - Brett Wallace (7, Zito), Chris Snyder (8, Zito)
SF - Jimmy Paredes (1)
RBI - Brett Wallace (13), Jimmy Paredes (1), Brandon Barnes (5), Scott Moore (21)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Barnes (2), Scott Moore (9)
SB - Jose Altuve (27, 2nd base off Zito/Posey)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Moore-Wallace
E - Scott Moore (6, Throwing)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dallas Keuchel (L,1-7) 5454231 5.54
Mickey Storey 1110000 3.00
Hector Ambriz 2000130 4.15
Xavier Cedeno 0.2000010 4.57
Rhiner Cruz 0.1000100 6.85
HBP - Arias (by Hector Ambriz)
WP - Hector Ambriz (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Dallas Keuchel 83-48, Mickey Storey 12-9, Hector Ambriz 39-24, Xavier Cedeno 7-5, Rhiner Cruz 7-3
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dallas Keuchel 5-7, Mickey Storey 3-0, Hector Ambriz 3-1, Xavier Cedeno 1-0, Rhiner Cruz 1-0
Batters Faced - Dallas Keuchel 21, Mickey Storey 4, Hector Ambriz 9, Xavier Cedeno 2, Rhiner Cruz 2
Game Information
Attendance - 13207
Game Time - 3:20
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Tim Welke