HOUSTON -- San Francisco's great spring has led to a solid start.
Barry Zito pitched three-hit ball over six innings and four relievers finished up the Giants' 3-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.The Giants followed their major league-best 23 spring wins by taking their first series of the season.Zito (1-0) struck out five before he was replaced by Waldis Joaquin. Joaquin, Dan Runzler, Sergio Romo and closer Brian Wilson combined for one hit in the last three innings. Wilson earned his second save.Wilson believes this early success has something to do with how they played in spring training."I think so," he said. "We had 20-something wins in spring in the Cactus League, it wasn't by accident."Giants newcomer Aubrey Huff had two hits and drove in a run in a game that was scoreless until the sixth.It was the second tough offensive night for a Houston team playing without star Lance Berkman. The loss followed Monday's 5-2 season-opening defeat, where the Astros were shut out for eight innings."Give Zito credit for how he pitched, but he threw some pitches we could have hit," Houston's Hunter Pence said. "This is not the way we should be playing. We just have to start scoring runs and start hitting. Hitting is contagious and once the first guy hits, we all will."Zito was pleased with his first outing."You want to start out on the right foot and let the team know that I'm going to carry my end of the load here as one of the five guys," he said. "It's big to come out and win a series in the second day and we can go out and get that sweep [Wednesday]."Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) did better than he did this spring when he posted a 12.10 ERA, but took the loss after allowing seven hits and three runs in six innings. He struck out four and walked four.Neither team scored until Huff's RBI single that came after consecutive walks in the sixth inning. San Francisco scored again when Pablo Sandoval narrowly evaded a tag from catcher Humberto Quintero after Pence caught a long fly ball and threw home. The third run of the inning came on an RBI single to right field by Juan Uribe. Rodriguez walked Andres Torres before striking out Zito to end the inning."Wandy kind of answered all of our questions," manager Brad Mills said. "He walked those two guys in the sixth, and we weren't able to turn the double play, but he threw extremely well."Houston rookie Tommy Manzella got plunked in the left forearm by a pitch by Joaquin with two outs in the seventh inning. Manzella was shaken up, but took his base after talking to Mills and a trainer for a bit. Joaquin was replaced by Runzler for the next batter and he retired Geoff Blum to end the inning. Mills said he is OK but that he'll probably get Wednesday off.Jeff Keppinger got his second double of the game with one out in the sixth when his fly ball looked to have bounced off the yellow line on the top of the wall in front of the Crawford Boxes in left field. The umpires reviewed the play, but the ruling on the field stood. The Astros came away empty-handed when Zito retired Pence and Carlos Lee to end the inning."He got in a good groove there and he stayed in it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Zito. "He had a good tempo going and when he has that kind of rhythm going that's usually when he has his good command."Rodriguez allowed a single to start the fourth inning before Sandoval grounded into a double play. Huff and Mark DeRosa each singled after that before Pence caught a fly ball from Bengie Molina to end the inning. Rodriguez also got helped out by a double play that ended the second inning.The Astros had runners at first and second with two outs in the third inning after a single by Rodriguez and a walk by Keppinger, but Zito struck out Pence to end the inning. He then retired the next seven batters.There was a short delay in the second inning after Molina accidentally hit Quintero on the back of his shoulder with his bat during a strikeout. Quintero got hit as he was trying to throw the ball to second base and quickly fell to the ground clutching his left shoulder. He got up and talked to a Houston trainer for a couple of minutes before remaining in the game.
Brandon Lyon pitched a scoreless eighth in his debut with the Astros. ... Former President George H.W. Bush sat on the front row behind home plate near Astros owner Drayton McLane. ... Houston RHPs Alberto Arias and Yorman Bazardo, both on the disabled list with shoulder injuries, will travel to Florida for extended spring training on Wednesday to continue their rehabilitation.