Lewis' long ball rescues Giants

Lewis' long ball rescues Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Asked about starting Fred Lewis for the first time in seven games before Friday's 6-4 victory at AT&T Park, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "We'll see if the break has done him any good."

Lewis didn't provide much confidence by striking out in each of his first two at-bats against the Texas Rangers' Scott Feldman. He saw nine fastballs and said they looked to be about 100 mph because of his slump-induced layoff.

He was 2-for-his-last-26 when he came to the plate in the sixth with the tying run at third base. Without many believers, he pulled Feldman's 2-0 inside fastball over the right-field wall and into McCovey Cove -- on a hop.

"I told myself to flush the first two at-bats away," Lewis said afterward.

Bochy employed 16 players -- none of whom were more important than Lewis -- for the team's ninth win in its last 10 tries against the Rangers. On Friday, San Francisco looked more like the team that swept the Oakland Athletics last weekend than the one that lost three straight to the Los Angeles Angels earlier this week. As their American League West rendezvous continues this weekend -- the Giants are 4-5 against the division this season -- the Giants used timely hitting and a near-quality start from Randy Johnson to dispose of the visiting Rangers in the first game of a three-game set.

But Lewis's fourth home run of the season was the key. It came after a lot of anger, hard work and finally a stroke of Bochy's pen.

"I always had people telling me that it's just a mind thing ... to get back to being the hitter you was in the beginning," Lewis said. "I've been working my butt off behind the scenes."

Said Bochy, "He came [through] when we needed him. It's not easy when you're pretty much the everyday player and he's been sitting for a while."

The slumping Aaron Rowand (0-for-13) smacked his third leadoff homer of the season against Feldman (5-2), and Travis Ishikawa added insurance with a solo blast in the eighth off Darren O'Day, as the Giants assumed the role of the Power Rangers, who have 100 team home runs this season, juxtaposed with the Giants' 41.

Johnson had considered the strength of the Rangers lineup after getting swept by the Angels.

"Well, if they are in second place, what does the first-place team look like?" he asked.

Making his 600th career start in search of win No. 302, Johnson didn't figure into the decision. He didn't even throw what was, at the time, the game's most important pitch. His final line: four earned runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings.

"I was more disappointed with coming out," Johnson said. "[The game] was hanging in the balance there."

Armed with a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth -- thanks to a two-run third initiated by Matt Downs' leadoff double -- Bochy lifted Johnson with two runners on and two outs in favor of Brandon Medders. The reliever's first pitch resulted in a two-run double from Marlon Byrd and Texas' short-lived 4-3 lead.

Five Giants relievers finished the game with 3 1/3 scoreless frames. Chief among them was Sergio Romo (1-0), who stranded the bases loaded in a busy seventh inning.

"He saved us," Bochy said. "He's a guy that's comfortable in that situation."

Jeremy Affeldt tossed a 1-2-3 eighth to extend his scoreless streak to 15 innings, and Brian Wilson earned his 18th save, which tied the National League lead.

It would have all proved for naught had Lewis been back on the bench or still struggling with his swing.

"It's a confidence-builder, [but] that was one home run," he said. "Hopefully, there's plenty more to come."

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