SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Belt crushed two solo homers to back Madison Bumgarner's complete game as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Houston Astros, 3-1, on Tuesday night at AT&T Park.
The Giants' ace was brilliant all night en route to his second complete game of the season. He struck out seven straight Astros after allowing the first two to reach base and finished with 12 strikeouts for the contest. He allowed just five hits and did not walk a batter.
"That definitely is something special that doesn't happen all that often," Bumgarner said of his complete game. "But at the same time, I'm trying to stay even-keeled. Not get too high, not get too low."
The Astros' Scott Kazmir suffered his second straight loss, but limited the damage despite not having his best stuff. He lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and two walks while striking out three for Houston, which has lost 15 of 17 on the road.
"Those pitches I'd like to have back," Kazmir said of the home run balls to Belt. "You get ahead of a guy or have to throw fastballs behind in the count, that's tough. It's tough to pitch that way. Behind in the count the first at-bat, I ended up throwing a fastball right down the middle and he didn't miss it. I got ahead of him and tried to throw a fastball elevated away and it ended up being right down the middle. Those two pitches are tough."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Belt's blasts: The Giants first baseman usually does not hit lefties well, but when he gets pitches to hit, he knows what to do with them. So when Kazmir left a fastball right over the heart of the plate in the fourth inning, Belt hammered it into the center-field seats to put the Giants up, 1-0. Kazmir then made the same mistake in the sixth inning and Belt made him pay once again, smacking a shot to left field to extend the lead. The multi-homer game was the third of Belt's career and second this month. He has four homers off lefties this month after hitting none over the first four months.
"When he gets hot, he can get rolling as good as anyone I've ever seen," Buster Posey said. "It's pretty impressive the way he's driving the ball to the opposite field right now."
Defense hinders Kazmir: After making an errant pickoff attempt in the second inning, Kazmir made a second throwing error in the sixth for his first career game with two errors. Kazmir lamented back-to-back plays in the sixth, saying he took too long to throw to first after fielding a Justin Maxwell dribbler and then throwing away a tapper off the bat of Ehire Adrianza. Kazmir made a throwing error in his most recent start Wednesday at Texas.
"Looking back on it, it was just frustrating," he said. "It was one that was easy, right in front of me, and all I have to do is pick it up and throw and just had that extra time to do like a crow hop and it cost me."
Bumgarner K's seven straight: The lefty ace surrendered singles to Jose Altuve and Carlos Gomez to begin the ballgame and decided he had seen enough. Bumgarner retired each of the next seven hitters via the strikeout, three on sliders, three on curveballs and one on a fastball.
"That's pretty impressive," Belt said. "You kind of have the feeling every time he goes out on the mound that he can do something special." More >
Thievery from Gomez: Gomez made a highlight-reel catch in the first inning, ranging back to the wall on Matt Duffy's drive to center, then leaping to snag the ball at the top of the fence to prevent extra bases or possibly a home run. He crashed face-first into the padding as he made the catch, then celebrated enthusiastically. More >
"We didn't get a ton of good swings against him. A couple soft line drives late, a couple base hits here and there, but you know, when he needed to make pitches, he made pitches and beat us." -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch on Bumgarner.
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Bumgarner's strikeout streak tied the Giants' San Francisco-era record for consecutive whiffs, matching the mark set by Juan Marichal (1964) and Jonathan Sanchez (2010).
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Veteran right-hander Scott Feldman (4-5, 4.46 ERA) will make his fifth start since being activated from the disabled list in Wednesday's 2:45 p.m. CT series finale at AT&T Park. Since his return, he's 0-1 with a 3.65 ERA with two quality starts in his four outings. But Feldman has never beaten the Giants, going 0-4 with a 5.19 ERA.
Giants: San Francisco hopes Chris Heston can get back to his winning ways in the second half of a two-game set. Heston struggled in his last two outings, surrendering a combined eight earned runs in 8 2/3 innings, but won his five previous decisions beforehand.