Homers hurt Myers in finale vs. Giants
Starter allows four runs in eight innings; Lee goes yard
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brett Myers took no satisfaction in throwing the Astros' first complete game of the season. He brushed aside questions of how dominant he was for much of his start Sunday afternoon against the Giants and instead focused on what went wrong.Myers' mistakes included a pair of home runs and a wild pitch that allowed a run to score -- mistakes the Astros' struggling offense couldn't overcome. The Giants polished off their second three-game sweep of the Astros this season by winning, 4-3, at AT&T Park with closer Brian Wilson retiring Kaz Matsui to end the game and strand the tying run at third base for the second game in a row. Houston has lost 14 of its last 19 games. "There were a couple of situations where I probably could have won that game if I hadn't made those mistakes," Myers said. "Wipe away the first and sixth inning, and I'm fine." Myers (2-3), who has pitched at least six innings in all eight of his starts, held the Giants to five hits and three walks and struck out seven batters in eight innings. He needed 104 pitches to throw his first complete game since Sept. 14, 2008, and the first for an Astros pitcher since Roy Oswalt on July 17, 2009. "He's done a great job," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "We knew coming in he was a competitor and we knew the guy was going to battle, and that's what he did today. We'll just go from there. He's been right on cue and thrown the ball extremely well and given us a chance." Myers retired 18 of the 19 batters he faced outside of the first and sixth innings, sending down 13 batters in a row when he mowed the Giants down in order in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. "He's a bulldog every time he takes the mound, and it's very impressive to play behind him," right fielder Hunter Pence said. "He's a great teammate and pitches with everything he's got. He's a competitor, and you want to win for those guys, you want to win for everybody. It's tough when you don't." Myers walked Aaron Rowand to start the first inning and paid for it when Andres Torres followed with a two-run homer to right field to put the Giants ahead, 2-1. Rowand led off the sixth with a homer to break a 2-2 tie, and Torres followed with a double and scored on a wild pitch to give the Giants a 4-2 lead. "I made a couple of mistakes," Myers said. "Usually when you make mistakes, sometimes you get away with them and sometimes you don't, and today I didn't get away with any. It's one of those things where I'll take the loss because I gave up four runs. "You shouldn't win when you give up four runs. The offense battled today and did the best they could to try to fight back, and that's good to see that they're not just giving up after a guy gives up a couple of runs. I don't think I'd be as upset as if we had probably won yesterday." The Astros dropped a tough, 2-1 game Saturday when Tim Lincecum beat Oswalt, with Houston stranding the bases loaded to end the game. Matsui, who battled Wilson for 15 pitches before flying out Saturday, had another chance with the game on the line in the ninth against Wilson. With two outs and no runners on, Geoff Blum and Cory Sullivan had back-to-back pinch-hit singles. Michael Bourn, who ran for Blum at first, was on third when Matsui struck out swinging to end the game. Matsui is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. "Kaz has had two good at-bats against that guy and it's not easy," Mills said. Mills said he considered having Matsui run for Blum at first base instead of Bourn so that Bourn would be available to pinch-hit. But he wanted Bourn to pinch-run in case he got a chance to steal second base, though Bourn didn't attempt a steal. "He was free to do it," Mills said. "We had talked about that, but if one's going to have a chance to steal, it's going to be Michael, and that's where we're at." Pence's hustling RBI double in the first inning scored Jason Michaels to give the Astros a 1-0 lead, and Carlos Lee led off the fourth with a homer off Giants starter Barry Zito (6-1) to tie the game at 2. But those were the only clutch hits for the Astros, who were 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position in the series. "It's been tough," said Lee, who became the first player to homer off Zito this year. "It seems like we can't find the rhythm. We will do good and score some runs and hit with people on base and all of a sudden stop doing that. It seems like we find a way to lose by one run. "I think nobody's playing as many close games as us. It's frustrating, especially when it seems like you have a chance and you fight all the way to the end and keep coming up short. Hopefully we'll be able to score more runs and support our pitchers." As far as Myers is concerned, the support was there. "[Giving up] four runs is not acceptable for me," Myers said. "They bailed me out quite a few times when I've given up four runs and this time I came up short. I tried to keep us in the game as best as possible."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.