SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Madison Bumgarner had a season-high 12 strikeouts and hit his first major league home run to lead the San Francisco Giants to a 6-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
Bumgarner connected on a 2-1 pitch from Houston starter Bud Norris leading off the third inning. It’s the first home run by any San Francisco player at AT&T Park since May 14.
Brandon Belt added a two-run homer, Brandon Crawford drove in two runs and Melky Cabrera had two hits and an RBI in his return to the Giants lineup.
Brian Bixler singled, doubled and drove in both runs for Houston, which has lost 12 of its last 16 games.
Bumgarner (8-4) struck out the side in the first, allowed an unearned run in the third following Crawford’s two-out throwing error then kept the Astros in check before leaving in the eighth.
The left-hander reached double digits in strikeouts for the third time in his last five starts, didn’t walk a batter for the third time this season and retired 11 of 13 until pinch-hitter Brian Bogusevic’s single leading off the eighth.
Two batters later Bixler hit an RBI double to pull Houston within 4-2 and chase Bumgarner.
Reliever Sergio Romo struck out J.D. Martinez to end the inning, then San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy used three relievers to close the ninth. Santiago Casilla ended it, retiring pinch-hitter Brett Wallace on a fly out for his 17th save.
As good as Bumgarner was on the mound, he provided a bigger lift at the plate with his leadoff homer in the third that tied the game 1-1 and ended the franchise’s longest power drought at home since 1918.
Before Bumgarner went deep off Norris, the Giants had gone 16 consecutive games at AT&T Park without a home run to tie the longest streak in the majors since Cleveland’s 17-game homerless skid in 1983.
San Francisco made it 3-1 on Crawford’s two-run single in the fourth.
Cabrera, who had missed the last three games because of a tight hamstring, singled in Gregor Blanco in the seventh to give the Giants a 4-1 lead. He also singled in the fifth and leads the National League with a .366 average.
Belt hit his first home run of the season in the eighth off reliever Wesley Wright.
It wasn’t all good news for San Francisco.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval left the game after fouling a ball
sharply off his left foot in the eighth. Sandoval just returned from the disabled list on Saturday.
Norris (5-4) was knocked out of the game early with a sprained left knee.
The right-hander, who walked three and hit a batter, appeared to get hurt after chasing a pop-up in foul territory in the fourth. Norris was unable to make the catch and nearly collided with Blanco, the on-deck hitter, then slowly walked back to the mound where he met with a team trainer and manager Brad Mills before attempting a few warm-up pitches.
Reliever David Carpenter replaced Norris and pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings but the Astros couldn’t get much going offensively against Bumgarner and fell to 2-2 on their nine-game road trip.
Notes: With Cabrera back, the Giants gave OF Angel Pagan the game off. Pagan has been nursing a sore stomach muscle. … Bochy said Aubrey Huff will likely DH when the team travels to Seattle for another round of interleague play Friday. … Bochy met with general manager Brian Sabean, pitching coach Dave Righetti and bullpen coach Mark Gardner to discuss struggling RHP Tim Lincecum. They discussed possibly having Lincecum skip a start or move to the bullpen but decided to keep him in the rotation to work out his problems. Lincecum (2-7) is winless over his previous eight starts. … Houston 1B Carlos Lee is anxious to begin his rehab assignment but the Astros are being cautious with him while he recovers from a strained left hamstring. … San Francisco signed 22 of its 40 draft picks on Tuesday, including first-rounder Chris Stratton. … The Astros signed five of their draft picks. … RHP Matt Cain (7-2) chases his seventh consecutive win on Wednesday against Houston LHP J.A. Happ (4-6). … Rory McIlroy, in town to defend his U.S. Open championship, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
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