Giants get solid win against D-backs

Giants get solid win against D-backs

SAN FRANCISCO -- Starter Noah Lowry's fantastic pitching and Bengie Molina's clutch hitting were nothing new Saturday night, but the win and the three-run margin of the Giants' victory were something that's certainly been missing.

The Giants' 4-1 win over the Diamondbacks on Saturday was nothing flashy. There were no home runs and, other than a Dave Roberts layout in the sixth, not really any spectacular plays, just a couple of well-hit balls and some fundamental baseball that resulted in a much-needed win.

It's either Lowry or Matt Morris who seem to come up with those much-needed wins. Saturday, it was Lowry, who pitched with familiar excellence on familiar turf. Lowry won his seventh straight game at AT&T Park, where he has held opponents to a .220 average and accumulated a 2.63 ERA in his last eight starts.

"I try to approach every game the same. I've looked at that before and tried to find an answer," Lowry said.

Lowry gave up one run in 6 2/3 solid innings and held off the Diamondbacks, something he is remarkably good at doing. The Giants have won Lowry's past six outings against Arizona.

Lowry now leads the rotation in wins and is only the 16th San Francisco left-hander to record eight wins before the All-Star break, but all the accomplishments sounded hollow to Lowry on Saturday night, even after a win.

"If we were in a better situation in the National League West, that would mean a lot more," Lowry said.

A one-run San Francisco lead in the fifth could easily have turned into yet another hard loss for the Giants, until Barry Bonds blasted an RBI double that dropped just a few feet short of a home run and ignited a fifth-inning outburst.

The Giants usually put up runs on Bonds' coattails, and Saturday night was no different. Bonds' two-out double was backed by a single from Molina and an RBI drive from Kevin Frandsen to give the Giants a comfortable three-run lead and the first offensive cushion they've held in days. Bonds' double tied him with Willie Mays for first on the San Francisco list with 376 doubles.

Molina's single was his second hit of the night with two out and runners on. In the first inning, Molina belted a two-run double out to the left of the cartoon cars on the left-field wall to put the Giants ahead early. Molina went 2-for-4 for the night, getting both hits when he was down in the count.

Angels bench coach Ron Roenicke told Molina once that he was a better hitter with two strikes against him.

"I didn't take him serious at that time, but later on in that season, I noticed that it was true," Molina said.

Molina has no explanation for why he is one of the best hitters in baseball with two strikes.

"It's not fun, believe me," Molina said. "You want to be 3-0. You want to be 3-1 once in a while."

Frandsen was a last-minute addition to the lineup in place of Ryan Klesko, who was scratched because of a mild abdominal strain, batting behind Molina. In the first inning, Frandsen warmed up on deck and watched the master work the count.

"It's unbelievable the way he battles," Frandsen said. "He was fouling them off, fouling them off, fouling them off, and he looked back at me on one and just shook his head like, 'I should have had that pitch,' and I was just laughing. I was like, 'Well, you're going to get it again and do something with it.'"

The All-Star rosters will be revealed Sunday and Molina may not make the cut, but it won't change the way his teammates think of him if he doesn't.

"He's an All-Star for us; that's what an All-Star does," Frandsen said.

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