HOUSTON -- Brandon Backe struck out six in seven effective
innings, Ty Wigginton drove in three runs and the Houston Astros
won their fifth straight game, beating the San Francisco Giants 3-1
Jose Valverde shut out the Giants in the ninth for his 29th save
after LaTroy Hawkins pitched a perfect eighth for the Astros,
who've won nine of their last 11.
Houston has won five in a row for the first time since May 2-7.
Backe (7-11) allowed a run and four hits to win for just the
third time in eight starts.
He rebounded from his worst start of the season, when he gave up
11 runs in 3 1-3 innings against the Chicago Cubs last Wednesday.
Jonathan Sanchez (8-9) didn't allow a hit for five innings, but
again got no support from San Francisco's bats.
The Giants have scored one run or less during 12 of his 24
appearances this season.