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Martinez hit his first career grand slam to end an 0-for-12 skid and the Houston Astros avoided a three-game sweep with a 6-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday.
“He was making some mistakes, falling behind hitters and walked three guys,” Martinez said. “I knew he had to give me something to hit. That was my mindset. I was going to be aggressive and go for it.”
Matt Downs also homered and Justin Maxwell drove in a run for the Astros, who dropped 13 of their previous 17 games – including a 10-0 loss Wednesday night when Giants ace Matt Cain pitched a perfect game.
Jose Altuve had two hits and a walk. The young second baseman ranks among the major league leaders in average and hits.
“We had to bounce back today and we had to get runs early,” Downs said. “Altuve set the tone early and got it over with. That pumped all of us up.”
“He was able to give us a quality start,” manager Brad Mills said. “That two-out home run was a little bit of a hiccup but, it’s always nice to get at least one game in the series.”
Zito (5-4) lasted five innings, allowing five runs and five hits. He walked three and struck out three in losing two straight decisions for the first time this season.
“I screwed up making pitches and things happened after that,” Zito said.
After tossing 8 1-3 shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs on June 3, Zito has allowed nine runs and 14 hits in his last 11 innings.
“He was throwing the ball well,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He allowed a solo home run and then got out of sync.”