San Francisco, CA – Madison Bumgarner worked 7 2/3 fantastic innings and blasted his first career home run Tuesday as the San Francisco Giants topped the Houston Astros, 6-3, in the opener of a three-game set at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner (8-4) allowed two runs -- one earned -- on six hits and no walks while striking out a season-high 12 hitters to collect the win. Clay Hensley allowed a run with two outs in the ninth, but Santiago Casilla got the final out to nail down his 17th save of the season.
Brandon Belt ripped a two-run home run and Melky Cabrera added an RBI base hit for the Giants, who lost two of three to the Texas Rangers over the weekend. Brandon Crawford contributed a two-run single in the victory.
Brian Bixler drove in two runs and Jason Castro added an RBI double for the Astros, who had taken two of three from the Chicago Cubs in their previous series.
Bud Norris (5-4) allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings before leaving in the fourth due to a knee injury. He also had five strikeouts in defeat.
The Astros opened the scoring with a run in the third inning. Jose Altuve reached second on a throwing error by Crawford, stole third and scored on a base hit to left by Bixler, but the Giants got the run right back in the home half when Bumgarner led off the inning by crushing a fastball from Norris over the wall in left to tie the game at one.
Buster Posey drew a leadoff walk in the San Francisco fourth. After Pablo Sandoval fouled out, Nate Schierholtz and Belt coaxed back-to-back walks from Norris to load the bases. Crawford then slapped a base hit up the middle that brought home two runs to give the Giants the 3-1 lead.
San Francisco extended its lead to three in the seventh. Facing Astros reliever Brandon Lyon, Gregor Blanco drew a leadoff walk, stole second, and advanced to third when the throw from Castro wound up in center field. After Ryan Theriot struck out, Cabrera picked up his teammate with a bloop single into left to bring home Blanco.
Bixler doubled home Brian Bogusevic in the eighth to pull the Astros within two, but Belt extended the Giants' lead to four in the home half of the inning with a long homer to right off Wesley Wright which landed in McCovey Cove.
Castro doubled home Jordan Schafer with two outs in the ninth to cut the deficit to three, but Casilla got pinch-hitter Brett Wallace to fly out to end the game.
Prior to Tuesday's game, the Giants signed 2012 first-round draft pick Chris Stratton...Belt's last home run came on September 27, 2011...San Francisco went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and has posted a 24-12 record this season when recording 2-or-more hits with runners in scoring position in a game...The Giants committed one error on Tuesday and are now tied with the Baltimore Orioles for the most errors in the majors (57)...Houston went 2- for-7 with runners in scoring position.