07/04/09 2:27 AM ET
Giants' onslaught buries Astros
Sadowski's scoreless streak reaches 13 innings
By Andrew Pentis / MLB.com
They did it front of 42,199 at home, where the Giants win 68 percent of their games, and to commence a 10-game homestand leading into the July 13-15 All-Star break."It's a good chance for us to make some noise," said Pablo Sandoval, who started the surge with a two-run home run three batters into the game. The Giants tallied 14 hits before the Astros recorded their first off Sadowski (2-0) in the fourth inning. Astros starter Felipe Paulino (2-5), whose ERA rose to an ominous 6.66 after yielding nine runs (eight earned), lasted just two innings, victimized by the potent attack. Following a three-run first, Travis Ishikawa finished off a six-run second by challenging the confines at AT&T Park. After a two-run triple from Randy Winn and RBI single by Nate Schierholtz, Ishikawa drove in two runs with what was originally ruled a ground-rule double but, after Giants manager Bruce Bochy urged crew chief Randy Marsh to initiate an official review, was ruled a three-run home run, Ishikawa's sixth of the season. "That [leeway] makes a huge difference, especially after the second inning when we had nine [runs]," Sadowski said. "They're not going to [steal bases]. You can just go out there and throw strikes." Pinch-hitting for Winn (who fouled a pitch off his right ankle and was replaced the following inning) to start the third, Andres Torres provided the first of four consecutive RBI base hits as San Francisco extended its lead to 13-0. "We don't do that very often," Bochy quipped. To Houston's credit, relievers Jeff Fulchino and Tim Byrdak held the Giants to just one hit from the fourth inning on. But they were no match for a certain six-year Minor League vet. Sadowski pitched seven shutout innings, lengthening his scoreless streak to 13, the longest stretch to begin a Giants career since Mike Remlinger's 15-inning span in 1991. "The kid was good," Bochy said before correcting himself: "He was outstanding." Added Winn, "He's not a guy we heard a whole lot about. [His success] has been really nice to see." Sadowski, who has received 20 runs of support in his two starts, credited his two-seam sinking fastball for limiting the Astros offense. Seven of the first nine men he retired grounded out. A little luck helps, too. "I've kind of defied the laws of averages a little bit," he said. "Batted balls in play sometimes find holes. These last two games, they really haven't." That was best exemplified when Juan Uribe -- the lone starting position player to go hitless for the game -- made up for his 0-for-5 by throwing out a runner from his bum to aid Sadowski's quick second inning. The right-hander had retired 10 Astros in a row before yielding back-to-back singles in the seventh. He held the heart of the Astros order -- Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee -- to a single hit. Though Sadowski still doesn't have a permanent nameplate above his big league locker, following his six shutout innings against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday and his effort Friday, he has a spot nailed down in a Major League rotation. Jonathan Sanchez, the man Sadowski bumped from the No. 5 spot, pitched two scoreless innings to end Friday's game. On the night one former Triple-A Fresno player starred, another was optioned back to the Minor Leagues. That would be Matt Downs, who lockered next to Sadowski and was sent out to clear space for Rich Aurilia. Downs was inserted into the game late Friday and walked in his lone plate appearance. He batted 7-for-36 in 11 games. With the move, Juan Uribe becomes the everyday second baseman and Aurilia, returning from his bereavement leave, will continue to practice fielding ground balls at multiple infield positions.
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.