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With Bonds on bench, Feliz fuels Giants past Astros

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds' jet-lagged teammates picked up
the slack nicely as he took the night off.

Pedro Feliz hit a two-run homer and singled in a run batting in
the slugger's cleanup spot, and the San Francisco Giants ended a
four-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Houston Astros in a
makeup game Monday night.

"He found his stroke," manager Felipe Alou said of Feliz, who
also made a great defensive stop at third base. "He's kind of a
streaky hitter. He's hot now. I'm glad I hit him fourth."

Even if Feliz's spot in the order was only for a night.

Bonds rested following a cross-country flight from Philadelphia,
where he hit career home run No. 713 on Sunday night to pull within
one of tying Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. The
41-year-old Bonds is scheduled to resume his chase Tuesday night in
the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs and
former manager Dusty Baker.

One male fan hollered "We want Barry!" late in the game and
the kayaks were out in force in McCovey Cove just in case Bonds
pinch hit and splashed one their way.

"He's playing tomorrow," Alou said.

Noah Lowry (1-0) returned from the disabled list and pitched
seven strong innings for the victory in his first outing since
straining a muscle in his right side April 6 against Atlanta in the
Giants' home opener.

Monday was supposed to be an off day for both clubs but a
rainout April 12 forced the game to be rescheduled. The Giants
looked surprisingly energetic considering their team plane didn't
land until 3:30 a.m. local time and most players managed only a few
hours of sleep.

Feliz hit his fifth home run in the Giants' five-run fifth and
Mark Sweeney -- Bonds' replacement in left field -- added an RBI
triple. Lance Niekro then singled in a run to chase Astros ace Roy
Oswalt (5-2), who lasted only 4 1-3 innings for his shortest outing
since going four innings Aug. 27 at Los Angeles.

Feliz is batting .242 but has picked up his offensive production
since late last month.

"Lucky," he said with a grin. "Not every day, but sometimes
things happen."

Lowry allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out three and
walked two in a 106-pitch performance, beating Oswalt for the third
time in his career.

"Mentally, it feels good," Lowry said. "All the hard work, it
feels like it's paying off. It couldn't have gone any better."

Houston pinch-hitter Mike Lamb hit a two-run homer in the ninth
off Tim Worrell following Craig Biggio's RBI double. Armando
Benitez relieved and recorded the final out for his second save in
three chances.

Brad Ausmus had three hits for the Astros, who headed south to
play the Dodgers in the last leg of their seven-game road trip
riding a season-worst four-game losing streak.

The reigning NL champions lost all three to the Rockies over the
weekend in Colorado, getting swept for the first time this season --
and first since July 15-17 at St. Louis.

"We've lost four in a row and not played good in any of them,"
manager Phil Garner said. "We had Lowry a little bit on the ropes
and we could only score the two runs. That's disappointing. ...
Playing good enough to finish second doesn't work."

Randy Winn tripled, singled and scored twice before giving the
Giants a scare when he fouled a pitch off his right kneecap in the
fifth. Winn rolled on the ground in pain before being examined by
trainer Dave Groeschner, then finished the at-bat. He was replaced
in right field by Jason Ellison in the top of the sixth.

Winn said he expected to play Tuesday if the swelling subsided
overnight.

Oswalt, who began the season 4-0 for the best start of his
career, beat the Giants 8-0 on April 13 in the second game of a
day-night doubleheader for another rainout during that soggy
series.

"I didn't feel good from the bullpen," Oswalt said. "If you
don't have one of these outings you don't stay humble. The biggest
thing is not to have too many of them."

The Giants got three singles against Oswalt in the first,
including Feliz's RBI single that tied the game after Preston
Wilson singled in a run in the first for Houston. Wilson added a
run-scoring triple in the third.

Game notes
Giants 2B Kevin Frandsen felt a twinge in his left side but
it wasn't considered serious. ... Lowry is 3-0 vs. Houston. ... To
make roster room for Lowry, the Giants designated for assignment
LHP Jeff Fassero, who might have thrown his final pitch in a major
league career spanning 15 seasons. "We could have done this a week
ago. I could have told you this," the 43-year-old Fassero said,
fighting tears. "I've been around this game long enough. ... I
understand everything they've done. They've got some good young
arms." ... Astros OF Chris Burke, placed on the disabled list
Sunday with a dislocated left shoulder sustained a day earlier
making a catch and crashing into the wall, underwent an MRI exam in
Houston and the Astros were optimistic he could come off the DL
when first eligible.