Giants can’t pull out another squeaker, lose 4-3 to Astros
HOUSTON (AP) — The San Francisco Giants have been superb in one-run games to start the year.
They couldn’t pull out one more close win Wednesday night.
George Springer hit a tie-breaking solo homer in the eighth and the Houston Astros rallied past the San Francisco Giants 4-3.
Springer had come off the seven-day concussion disabled list prior to the game. He sent Jeremy Affeldt’s (0-2) 3-2 sinker over the yellow line in left-center. It was his lone hit and broke a 0 for 10 slump.
“It was the one time I needed the sinker to sink and it just didn’t,” Affeldt said. “With this team we know they’re pretty aggressive with the fastball and that’s a guy that’s probably all or nothing on that pitch.”
Buster Posey had three hits and three RBIs, putting the Giants ahead 3-1 in the fifth with a two-run homer after he gave San Francisco a 1-0 lead in the first on a single.
He also had a chance to tie it in the ninth with runners on the corners and two outs, but he grounded back to the pitcher to end it, unlike other squeakers the Giants have pulled out.
The Giants fell to 9-4 in one-run games.
Before Posey’s at-bat, Brandon Crawford led off the ninth with a double, but on Nori Aoki’s groundout to short, Jonathan Villar made a heads-up play to throw out Crawford at third.
“We usually do execute,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “Missed hit and run and of course Craw, that’s a tough ball for him. Leadoff double, that’s what you’re hoping to get at least in the ninth and the ball was hit right to his left shoulder. If they go back they might’ve had a shot at him there so we’ve got to execute a little better there on both sides. Still had first and third and the right guy up there so that’s all you can ask.”
Tim Hudson allowed three runs on six hits with four strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander rebounded after giving up six runs in his last start Thursday, but has allowed at least three runs in his last six starts.
“Any time you have a rough outing it’s nice to come out and give your team a chance to win,” Hudson said. “Mechanically I got a little bit out of sync right there at the last couple innings and wasn’t making quite as good of pitches as I was earlier in the game. It was a tough game.”
Chad Qualls (1-2) threw a perfect eighth for the win and Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his eighth save.
Jason Castro hit a solo homer for the second straight game, and Luis Valbuena tied it at three in the sixth with a solo homer.
Colby Rasmus tied it at one in the fourth with an RBI single.
Brett Oberholtzer lasted three innings in his first start of the year, allowing one run on five hits with three strikeouts. The lefty departed due to a blister on his pitching hand. Prior to the game, Oberholtzer came off the disabled list where he had been because of a left index finger blister suffered at the end of spring training.
Oberholtzer was placed on the 15-day disabled list with the blister following the game.
Giants: Matt Cain threw a 20-pitch bullpen session. The light throwing session was the first time Cain has thrown off a mound since straining his flexor tendon April 4. Bochy said it is the first of “three or four” bullpen sessions he will throw. . OF Hunter Pence continued his rehab assignment Wednesday. Pence has two hits in four games as he comes back from a fractured left forearm. Bochy said he is looking to get the outfielder more at-bats and will be evaluating him on a daily basis.
Giants: RHP Tim Lincecum (3-2) will try to continue his solid start Thursday against Cincinnati. Lincecum owns a 2.00 ERA this season, but has struggled against the Reds in his career, going 0-4 with a 9.79 ERA in six career starts.
Astros: RHP Roberto Hernandez (1-3) will start Thursday against Toronto as the Astros start a four-game series against the Blue Jays. Hernandez threw 7 2-3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits in his last start against the Angels Friday in a 2-0 loss.
HOUSTON’S POWER SURGE
Castro homered in consecutive games for the fourth time in his career but the first time since Aug. 28-29, 2014. He’s now tied with Brad Ausmus for third place on Houston’s all-time home run list by a catcher with 41. Springer’s homer was his fourth in his last 12 games. As a team, Houston leads the AL with 49 homers.