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Molina leads Giants past Pirates 9-3

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Bengie Molina went 4 for 4 with four RBIs to help Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-3 on Monday night.

Pablo Sandoval had three hits and scored twice for San Francisco, which is tied with Philadelphia for the best start in the majors at 6-1. Aubrey Huff went 2 for 2 and scored three runs.

Zito (2-0) pitched six-plus innings in his 100th career start with the Giants, yielding three runs and five hits. The left-hander has won his first two starts for the first time since 2003, when he finished 14-12.

Akinori Iwamura and Andy LaRoche had two hits apiece for the Pirates, who have lost six straight at AT&T Park. Iwamura had two RBIs and LaRoche scored twice.

The Giants finished with 12 hits and received plenty of help from Pittsburgh's pitchers, who walked six and hit three batters, but it was Zito's pitching that stood out the most.

Zito worked out of a two-out, two-on jam in the first, gave up a run in the second and another in the fifth, but kept the Pirates in check most of the night. He received a standing ovation when he departed after the first two batters reached in the seventh.

It was a stark contrast to how Zito was treated by Giants fans the previous three seasons, when he was booed unmercifully at times after signing a $126 million, seven-year contract.

Sergio Romo, Dan Runzler and Guillermo Mota completed the seven-hitter for the Giants, who have won five of their last seven games against the Pirates after going 5-14 against Pittsburgh from 2006-08.

Fill-in starter Brian Burres (0-1) allowed six runs and eight hits in four innings for the Pirates.

Burres, who was called up after Ross Ohlendorf was scratched due to back spasms, was selected by San Francisco in the 31st round of the 2000 draft and spent six years in the Giants' minor league system but never got higher than the Double-A level.

The left-hander was a non-roster invitee to spring training this year but pitched strictly in relief for the Pirates before being reassigned to the minor league camp in mid-March.

Burres' first start since April 30, 2009, didn't last long.

Aaron Rowand hit Burres' fourth pitch into left field for a double and Edgar Renteria followed with a walk. After Sandoval fouled out, Burres hit Huff with a pitch to load the bases before Mark DeRosa's broken-bat bloop single to left drove in two runs. Molina added an RBI single to make it 3-0.

Burres got into another jam in the third when he gave up a leadoff double to Sandoval and hit Huff for the second time. After DeRosa lined into a double play, Molina and Jose Uribe followed with consecutive RBI doubles.

Huff tripled in Sandoval in the fourth, giving the Giants a 6-0 lead and chasing Burres.

Pittsburgh cut the lead to 7-3 in the seventh but Molina's two-run homer off Brendan Donnelly in the eighth put the game out of reach.

NOTES: Pittsburgh RHP Joel Hanrahan, who had been out with a strained right elbow flexor, was recalled from the minors after completing a rehab stint and reinstated from the 15-day disabled list. The Pirates optioned RHP Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a spot on the roster. ... RHP Hayden Penn was designated for assignment to make room for Burres. ... Giants OF Fred Lewis, who is eligible to come off the DL, will remain in the minors to get at-bats after missing time in spring training with a strained oblique. ... San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said the team still is targeting the end of April or early May for the return of 2B Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez is recovering from a late December surgery on his non-throwing left shoulder.