Sanchez wins on road for first time since last September

HOUSTON -- Jonathan Sanchez earned his first road victory of 2009 almost a month after throwing his first no-hitter.

The 26-year-old left-hander snapped a nine-game road losing streak on Tuesday night, striking out eight in seven shutout innings of the San Francisco Giants' 8-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

Sanchez (5-9), who pitched a no-hitter against San Diego on July 10, held Houston to four hits, all singles. He came in 0-8 with a 6.33 ERA in nine road starts this season and hadn't won away from home since Sept. 12, 2008, in San Diego.

"I had pretty good pitches," Sanchez said. "I missed a couple and they got hit. But I had everything today. I was hitting my spots."

Freddy Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval hit back-to-back homers in the sixth off reliever Wesley Wright and Aaron Rowand drove in three runs, helping the Giants win for the ninth time in 13 games.

San Francisco's 16 hits were one shy of a season high and the eight runs was its highest total since Sanchez's no-hitter, an 8-0 victory. The Giants think the offense will produce like this more often with the additions of Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Garko in the last week.

"The team we've got now, it's going to help us score runs," said Bengie Molina, who drove in two runs. "I think we're going to be fine."

Houston starter Felipe Paulino (2-6), recalled from the minors late Monday, gave up five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He was hit hard by the Giants for the second time in a month as Paulino allowed eight runs and nine hits on July 3 in the Giants' 13-0 win.

"I fought with my command, mostly with my fastball," Paulino said. "It's moving, but it was staying down the middle, down the middle, and they made the adjustments and hit it."

Sandoval walked with two outs in the first inning and scored on Molina's double. Eugenio Velez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI single in the second to make it 2-0.

San Francisco loaded the bases with one out in the third and Rowand drove in two runs with a single down the first-base line.

Hunter Pence led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to left, Houston's first hit. Sanchez struck out Carlos Lee and Molina threw out Pence trying to steal for a double play, and Sanchez struck out Miguel Tejada.

Sanchez felt like he pitched almost as well as he did in the no-hitter.

"I'm trying to win games," he said. "I want to help this team get to the playoffs and that's what we're doing now, playing like we want to go there."

Paulino walked Randy Winn with one out in the fifth and Doug Brocail relieved. Rowand doubled down the left-field line and Winn scored for a 5-0 lead.

Wright replaced Brocail for the sixth and Freddy Sanchez drove the first pitch off the facade in left, his seventh homer of the season and first since joining the Giants in a July 29 trade with Pittsburgh. Two pitches later, Sandoval homered to left, his team-leading 17th.

San Francisco had homers in consecutive at-bats for the second time this season. Travis Ishikawa and Juan Uribe hit back-to-back homers against San Diego on July 9.

Molina added an RBI single in the eighth off Wright for an 8-0 lead. Keppinger singled and pinch-hitter Geoff Blum walked in the bottom half and Justin Miller replaced Sanchez.

Waldis Joaquin took the mound for his major league debut for the Giants in the ninth. Lee doubled, advanced on Tejada's single and scored on Chris Coste's groundout for Houston's only run.

Game notes
Astros RHP Roy Oswalt met Tuesday with a back specialist, who examined the irritated disk that forced him out of a start last week. General manager Ed Wade said Oswalt got a favorable report and will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. The Astros will then determine whether Oswalt can make his next scheduled start this weekend. ... Astros manager Cecil Cooper isn't expecting slugger Lance Berkman to return from a strained left calf on Friday, when he's due to come off the DL. "By Friday, I'm not optimistic that he'd be ready to play," Cooper said. ... Giants RHP Joe Martinez will start Wednesday's series finale. Martinez (1-0, 6.75 ERA) has been on the DL since he was struck in the head by a line drive hit by Milwaukee's Mike Cameron on April 9.