Astros-Giants rained out for second straight night

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Matt Morris is getting quite a lesson in patience.

For the third time already this season and second time in two days, San Francisco's No. 2 starter had his outing pushed back because of rain.

The series opener between the Giants and Houston Astros was rained out once again Wednesday night, the first time in 45 years there have been back-to-back rainouts in San Francisco.

The game was called more than three hours before the scheduled 7:15 p.m. PT start after yet another day of heavy rain in the Bay Area. The series opener was also postponed Tuesday.

Morris, in his first season with the Giants, had his San Francisco debut last week in San Diego postponed a day by rain -- then it happened again both Tuesday and Wednesday.

"Use my quotes from yesterday," the pitcher joked after a session of playing catch.

In 2002 with St. Louis, Morris beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the playoffs Oct. 1 and then didn't take the mound again until Oct. 9 in the opener of the NL Championship Series against the Giants.

All that time off -- pitchers usually work every five days -- ended up being too much. He was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 9-6 loss at Busch Stadium.

"Extra rest leads you to believe you can do things you can't," Morris said. "That was a valuable lesson."

There have been just five rainouts at the Giants' waterfront ballpark since it opened in 2000 and 32 since the team moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958. The last time consecutive games had been rained out was April 21-22, 1961, against St. Louis.

The teams are scheduled to play a day-night doubleheader Thursday. This is the Astros' only scheduled trip to San Francisco but the teams could try to make up the game on a day both are scheduled to be off.

May 8 is a possibility if the Giants agree to play after traveling across the country following their Sunday night game at Philadelphia.

The two rainouts also mark the first time the Astros have had consecutive games rained out since May 17-18, 2000, at Milwaukee.

The rain has delayed Barry Bonds' pursuit of Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list. Bonds hasn't homered yet this season, the longest the slugger has gone into a season when healthy without a homer since 1998. He has 708 career homers, six shy of tying Ruth for second all-time. Hank Aaron holds the career record with 755.

The sun came out more than an hour before the scheduled first pitch and the rain stopped, but the field was still a mess.

"I can't take any more wine, just the way the field can't take any more water," said Giants manager Felipe Alou, a wine aficionado.

Morris, whose last bullpen session was Saturday, will now pitch Thursday's first game against Brandon Backe if the weather cooperates. Matt Cain will face Houston's Roy Oswalt in the late game.

Taylor Buchholz, the Astros' rookie right-hander, was scheduled to make his first career start Tuesday and then got pushed back to Thursday because of the rain. Now, he won't pitch this series at all.

Alou hopes Bonds will play at least one of the game Thursday, probably the night game so the field has longer to dry out.

"I'd like him to play even if the field isn't 100 percent," Alou said.

The 41-year-old Bonds "tweaked" his knee in Sunday's 6-5 win over the Atlanta Braves but is ready to resume his home run chase.

"My knee, it's good," he said while playing chess with members of the clubhouse staff.

The 70-year-old Alou recalled a day when the weather forced a five-day break between Games 5 and 6 of the 1962 World Series. Alou walked outside at Candlestick Park only to see new bats and baseballs floating in right field.

The rainout didn't stop Jeff Pearlman from passing out fliers in front of the ballpark for his upcoming book, "Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero." The book, the second in as many months about the slugger, is due for release April 18.

"Game of Shadows," written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, came out in March -- detailing Bonds' alleged regimen for taking performance-enhancing drugs starting after the 1998 season.

Pearlman called his timing "horrible" for the release of his book, which isn't expected to generate the same attention as "Game of Shadows." When Pearlman tried to hand out one flier Wednesday, a man said, "We don't want that! Throw it away."

Game notes
Giants closer Armando Benitez, on the 15-day DL nursing an injured left knee, threw for the second straight day in the cage. He would like to face live hitters in simulated games Friday and Saturday at Dodger Stadium. "If I'm going to pitch, I need to work every day," he said. "My leg is good. My mechanics are good. I'm real close." He will probably need a rehab assignment before rejoining the Giants.