The Giants smashed out 19 hits and the Giants are 3-0 after a 10-4 win over the Houston Astros on Wednesday.
There is a lot for Giants fans to be excited about the G-men’s three-game sweep of the Astros.
- Edgar Renteria went 5 for 5 with a walk, raising his season average to .727. More Splash Hits apologizes for any reservations we had about Renteria batting in the No. 2 hole.
- Aaron Rowand broke out of an 0-for-10 start by going 4 for 6.
- John Bowker belted his first home run of the season.
- Matt Cain pitched six stellar innings before giving up three runs in the seventh. Aaron Rowand almost saved Cain, but he was unable to corral Cory Sullivan’s long drive to center and it went for a triple.
- The Giants bullpen came through with 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Other than Brandon Medders, the Giants pen is unscored upon this young season.
Despite all this good stuff, there are still areas of concern. So, in the spirit of keeping enthusiastic Giants fans grounded, here are some other things to think about.
- The Giants still need to show some discipline at the plate. For the second time in three games, Aaron Rowand swung at the first pitch of the game. On Wednesday, he swung and missed on a Brett Myers curveball. We’re guessing he wasn’t looking curveball on the first pitch, so why swing??? In another Rowand at-bat, he got ahead 2-0 then swung on a pitch a foot outside the strike zone. The good news on both at-bats is Rowand followed up by getting hits.
- Double plays. The Giants grounded into two more Wednesday and should have grounded into a third when Astros reliever Tim Byrdak threw wide to second trying to turn two on a comebacker by Pablo Sandoval. The Astros were only able to get one out. The other two DPs killed potentially big innings. In the first, Rowand and Renteria singled, but Sandoval grounded into a DP. In the third, Renteria, Sandoval and Aubrey Huff singled to load the bases. Mark DeRosa grounded into a DP that scored Renteria. That’s seven double plays in three games.
It may be nitpicking. I mean, the Giants are 3-0, and what’s even better, they are 2.5 games ahead of the Dodgers. They are 3-0 on the road. They’ve hit well when the pitching faltered, and pitched well when the hitting struggled. But the law of averages will eventually catch up with them, so fixing the holes now will pay off in the end.
Magic number to clinch NL West: 158
OK, OK, so it’s only a 2-0 record. But it’s the only 2-0 record in the majors, and the Giants own it.
Barry Zito threw six shutout innings, limiting the Astros to three hits and one walk. He struck out five.
It’s the kind of season-opening start the Giants have been waiting four years for from Zito.
The Giants got their first shutout of the season, as Zito got help from four relievers. If not for Brandon Medders’ struggles on Monday, the Giants might have had back-to-back shutouts.
And they needed a good pitching performance, because the offense struggled to put together rallies.
But the Giants got enough in the sixth inning, set up by back-to-back walks by Edgar Renteria and Pablo Sandoval. Aubrey Huff singled Renteria home. Mark DeRosa beat out a potential double-play ball, with Sandoval taking third. Bengie Molina got Sandoval home on a sacrifice fly, with DeRosa taking second. Then DeRosa scored on Juan Uribe’s single.
That’s the Giants’ offense. It’s not one guy. The Giants need to score runs as a team.
But it wasn’t all good news for the G-men.
The pessismist might point out these facts:
The Giants killed several rallies by hitting into three double plays.
Aaron Rowand went 0 for 5 with a strikeout, making him 0 for 10 for the season.
They had eight scoreless frames.
But in the end of the day, they are 2-0, both wins coming on the road, with Matt Cain set to go to the hill on Wednesday for the sweep.
And no one is going to complain about that.
Oh, and the Giants’ magic number to clinch the NL West? 160.