SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants still had some of the problems that plagued them through their lengthy losing streak.
On Wednesday, though, they did enough things right to return to the win column. Getting Moises Alou back in a groove played a big part, too.Alou homered, hit a two-run double and singled in a run, Jason Schmidt struck out 10 and the Giants ended their longest losing streak in 10 years with an 8-6 victory over the Washington Nationals."It's been frustrating to go through a streak like this," said Alou, who didn't even play a full game as he continues to nurse a tender left hamstring. "I don't remember being in a streak like that in a long time and it feels great to win the game. I don't care how it ended, we just wanted to win the game. ... It was big, especially with the off day tomorrow. We can enjoy our day off."Shea Hillenbrand hit his first home run as a member of the Giants, and 13th overall, a solo shot in the seventh. He was acquired in a trade from Toronto on July 21.Alou's four RBI moved him and his manager and father, Felipe, past Gus and Buddy Bell and into third place on the all-time list for combined RBI by a father and son with 2,051. Moises Alou had his first four-hit game of the season, hitting his 12th home run to start the seventh.The Giants ended a nine-game losing streak after calling a brief team meeting following Tuesday night's 4-1 loss -- which they also did before going on their season-best five-game winning streak that preceded this skid, the team's longest since dropping 10 in a row from June 21-30, 1996.Schmidt (8-7) won for only the second time in 10 starts since he matched a franchise record with a 16-strikeout game June 6 against Florida. He struck out 10 or more for the fourth time this year and beat the Nationals organization for the first time since a win
against the Montreal Expos on Aug. 25, 2002."It's been hard the last week and a half," Schmidt said. "Hopefully we'll get some momentum and get some games back."Alfonso Soriano homered twice to drive in three runs, his fourth multihomer game this season and 15th of his career. He led off the game with a shot to the arcade in right-center -- his seventh leadoff homer and 30th of his career, and the second for him
against the Giants. He hit a two-run homer off Steve Kline in the seventh.But the Nationals, who conclude their nine-game road trip with a weekend series at San Diego, generated little else against Schmidt.Schmidt allowed four hits and one run in six innings and walked three as the Giants ended a five-game losing streak to Washington."There's not much to say," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "The pitching was not good and we didn't do very much with Mr. Schmidt."Brad Hennessey started the ninth but gave up three runs, including a two-run homer to Nick Johnson that chased the right-hander. Closer Armando Benitez entered to loud boos from every direction because he blew his previous three save chances after converting seven straight.Benitez walked Austin Kearns, and then Felipe Alou went to Mike Stanton to get the final out for his first save. Alou said he told Benitez he would be replaced if a runner got aboard."We cannot ostracize Benitez here," Alou said. "It is very obvious that we need him right."Tony Armas (7-7) lost for the fourth time in five starts and was done after his fourth-inning wild pitch allowed Randy Winn to score from third for a 4-1 San Francisco lead.Alou followed with a double to center against Saul Rivera and then Ray Durham walked to bring up Hillenbrand, who struck out swinging as the Giants batted around in the inning.Armas failed to go four innings for the second straight start. He allowed six runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings, struck out one and walked one.Barry Bonds missed his second straight game with swelling in his right knee, though Felipe Alou was optimistic the slugger would be back in the lineup Friday for the opener of a weekend
series against Colorado following the team's day off."I feel all right," the 42-year-old Bonds said while making his way to the trainer's room to ice his knee, which underwent three operations last year and limited him to 14 games in 2005.The Giants announced after the game that catcher Mike Matheny
would not play again this season because of a concussion that has sidelined him since May 31.
Armas is 1-4 in five career starts against the Giants, and he earned that lone victory in his last outing against San Francisco -- way back on May 12, 2002. ... Pedro Feliz returned to the Giants' lineup at third base after getting his first day off of the season Tuesday. He had played every inning until then. ... Stanton last got a save on Sept. 24, 2003, while pitching for the Mets. ... Stanton made 202 appearances between saves. ... Rivera, a rookie, had his first career at-bat and struck out in the fifth.