Series: Game 1 of 3

San Francisco leads 1-0 (as of 4/14)

Game 1: Monday, April 14
San Francisco4
Game 2: Tuesday, April 15
San Francisco8
Game 3: Wednesday, April 16
San Francisco5

Astros 2

(7-5, 2-1 away)

Giants 4

(12-1, 6-1 home)

    10:15 PM ET, April 14, 2003

    AT&T Park, San Francisco, California 

    123456789 R H E
    HOU 000010001 2 7 1
    SF 01000300 - 4 6 1

    W: D. Moss (2-0)

    L: W. Miller (0-1)

    S: T. Worrell (6)

    Kent returns to see Bonds homer, Giants go to 12-1

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Jeff Kent stepped to the plate in the first inning and heard a loud round of boos.

    Barry Bonds

    They were soon drowned out by applause. Barry Bonds homered and the Giants spoiled Kent's return to San Francisco with a 4-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday night.

    The Giants improved to 12-1, keeping pace with their best start in 65 years.

    "Fans here appreciate good baseball,'' Kent said. "The Giants have been giving it to them the last six years and they're doing it again. It's hard to play them right now. They are on a roll and you can see their confidence.''

    Kent, the 2000 NL MVP who played the previous six years in San Francisco, went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI. He signed an $18.2 million, two-year contract in the offseason with the Astros, who have lost three straight after winning four of five.

    Kent had a stormy relationship with several of his San Francisco teammates, including Bonds. They had a very visible shoving match in the dugout last season.

    Still, many fans stood to cheer Kent in his first trip back to Pacific Bell Park.

    "He's an All-Star second baseman,'' Giants starter Damian Moss said. "He's one of the guys you don't want to beat you. He's a good hitter and you want to get him out.''

    A three-time All-Star with the Giants, Kent .299 and averaged 29 homers during his tenure in San Francisco. He helped lead the Giants to the World Series last season.

    Moss (2-0), who walked 11 in his previous 10 2/3 innings, walked just three in six innings.

    "It's a step in the right direction,'' he said. "It's just going to take a little more work to get where I want to be. I'm not going to give in and it worked in my favor tonight.''

    Moss gave up a run on five hits to earn the victory. He struck out three as the Giants beat Houston for the 17th time in 22 games.

    "Moss got behind on some hitters but he came back with some big pitches,'' Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "We hit just enough to win the game.''

    Tim Worrell pitched the ninth for his sixth save in seven opportunities, allowing an RBI double to Geoff Blum.

    Wade Miller (0-1) and relief pitcher Ricky Stone walked eight batters, twice with the bases loaded, to help the Giants.

    "A little control lapse made all the difference,'' Houston manager Jimy Williams said. "Miller was rolling along except for that Bonds homer, then they get a hit and four walks.''

    The Giants' start matches their best since the 1938 team also began 12-1. Only the 1918 Giants started better at 18-1.

    Miller allowed four runs on four hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five as he fell to 0-3 in four games against San Francisco.

    "It was kind of weird,'' Miller said. "Everything just unraveled. I wasn't trying to pitch around anybody.''

    Bonds drove in San Francisco's first run with his fifth home run of the year, a majestic shot to lead off the second inning which landed in McCovey Cove beyond right field.

    The Giants have 24 "splash hits,'' with Bonds responsible for 22 of them. It was also Bonds' 618th career homer, 42 short of Willie Mays for third on the career list.

    Kent drove in Houston's first run with a sharp single to right field with two outs in the fifth. Jeff Bagwell was thrown out at third on the play to end the inning.

    With one out in the sixth, Miller gave up a single to Rich Aurilia, then walked Bonds, Jose Cruz Jr. and Benito Santiago in succession to force home a run. Ricky Stone replaced Miller and walked J.T. Snow on four pitches, making it 3-1. Neifi Perez drove in another run with a groundout.

    Game notes

    Giants 2B Ray Durham was kept out of the lineup with a mild strain in his right groin. ... Astros OF Lance Berkman was given a day off. ... The game marked the start of Houston's longest road trip (12 games in 13 days) since a 28-day, 26-game trip in 1992. ... The Giants are 11-0-4 in their last 15 series dating to last year. ... Bonds is 6-for-11 with three home runs and four walks against Miller. ... Jesse Foppert pitched two scoreless innings in his major league debut with the Giants.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press