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Notes: Winn streaking at top spot

Notes: Winn streaking at top spot

SAN FRANCISCO -- When leadoff batter Dave Roberts was placed on the disabled list with elbow trouble, the lineup looked grim, but for only about a second. Then Randy Winn stepped in, and he hasn't missed a beat, or a strike.

"It's really been a shot in the arm to lose the leadoff hitter, and he really softens the blow with his bat," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Winn has more than softened the Roberts void; he has practically erased it since taking over the No. 1 spot on May 10. Winn, who left April batting .272 from the bottom of the lineup, has catapulted to the top of the order and taken his average up with him. Entering Tuesday, Winn was batting .382 in May and was riding a 20-game hit streak, the longest by a switch-hitter in San Francisco Giants history.

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Winn slammed a double down the left-field line to open up the sixth inning Monday to extend the streak to 20 and tie Willie Mays for the fifth-longest streak in San Francisco history. Winn's streak is the longest by a Giant since Robby Thompson's 21-game streak in 1993.

"I wish I had a secret, but nothing's different other than the balls are falling in," Winn said. "It's not magic."

It may not be magic, but little tweaks to Winn's approach seem to be working. When Winn struggled earlier in the season, hitting coach Joe Lefebvre told him to open up, and former hitting coach Willie Upshaw suggested Winn work on keeping his head up.

"I've noticed that his swing is where it should be now because he has his timing and rhythm back together. He has balance," Upshaw said. "He's got his own arch, and once he got his timing back, he started hitting strikes."

Winn is not too caught up in streaks or records, though; he's just happy when his hits help the Giants win.

"Winning that last game in Oakland was nice, winning this first game [vs. Houston] was nice," Winn said. "We'll just try to get some momentum and keep it going."

Looks like Winn has already done that.

Barry's chase: Barry Bonds' chase on Hank Aaron's home run record has slowed down a little. Entering Tuesday, Bonds hadn't hit a homer since May 8 against the New York Mets. Bonds remains 10 away from tying Aaron's record and is batting .204 in May.

The slump isn't makeing opposing pitchers feel any more comfortable, though. Entering Tuesday, Bonds had walked in his last 15 consecutive games and drawn 24 walks total.

Bochy said Bonds will likely get the day off [Wednesday], but not because his hits haven't been splashing lately.

"The fact that he hasn't hit a home run in so many games doesn't mean that there's something wrong with Barry," Bochy said. "It's just something that all of us go through at some point. You just don't see it happen very often with Barry."

Bengie's clutch: When there are two outs and runners on, there is not a more comforting sight than Bengie Molina striding to the plate. Monday night was no different when Molina smacked a two-run single with two outs in the sixth to give the Giants a comfortable three-run lead. Molina has made a habit of bringing runners in when the pressure is on this season.

"When I'm out there and I see an opportunity to take advantage of, that's the only thing I think about," Molina said. "If you think about it, that's when you put yourself under pressure."

Roberts recoups: Roberts continues to show rapid improvement after undergoing arthroscopic left elbow surgery May 11 to remove bone spurs and bone chips. Roberts hasn't started throwing yet, but he started swinging a fungo bat only 10 days after the surgery.

"I'm trying not to get ahead of myself, but it's pretty encouraging," Roberts said.

Also sidelined Tuesday was Rich Aurilia, who has been bothered by muscle spasms in his upper shoulder recently. Bochy said he'll try to rest Aurilia more during the remainder of the Giants' homestand, but he was pleased with the way Aurilia played third Monday.

Little Giants: Triple-A center fielder Clay Timpner was a double away from hitting for the cycle Monday in Fresno's 7-6 loss to Colorado Springs. Timpner went 4-for-5 and is batting .375.

On deck: Barry Zito (3-5, 5.13 ERA) will close the Giants' series against Houston and Matt Albers (1-3, 6.51 ERA) at 7:15 p.m. PT on Wednesday. This will be the last time Houston plays in San Francisco in regular-season action this year.

Becky Regan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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