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Heston dominates with 10 K's in CG vs. Astros

Giants rookie allows one run, walks none to earn victory

HOUSTON -- For a clear interpretation of how Chris Heston dominated the Houston Astros on Tuesday, rely on the evening's other key figure, Matt Duffy, who is quickly proving that he knows a thing or two about hitting.

"He had them both physically and mentally beat, I think," said Duffy, whose five RBIs complemented Heston's complete-game, 10-strikeout gem as the Giants prevailed, 8-1. Referring to Heston's four strikeouts looking, Duffy added, "Usually when that happens, guys are really starting to think hard against a pitcher, at least for me. If I'm striking out looking, it means I'm probably thinking too much."

Heston kept the Astros thinking -- and guessing -- long enough to become the Giants' first rookie pitcher to record a complete game and amass double-digit strikeouts since Roger Mason did so against Atlanta on Oct. 4, 1985. The right-hander also produced the first double-digit strikeout gem by a Giants rookie since Tim Lincecum had 12 against Arizona on July 1, 2007.

Just as impressively, Heston (3-3) issued zero walks. This helped him preserve sufficient stamina to remain on the mound for the ninth inning, which gave him an enduring thrill.

"That was awesome," he said. "I'll remember that forever."

As Heston's 2.91 ERA indicates, he has succeeded in remembering what works for him every five days when it's his turn to pitch.

"I just pound the bottom of the strike zone," he said. "Everything below the knees, really. Anything above the knees is probably up."

That's because Heston doesn't throw overpoweringly hard and relies on imparting the movement on his pitches that he maintained against Houston. Variety was another asset for him. Of the six swinging strikeouts he accumulated, three were on curveballs and the other three were on changeups. All four of his called strikeouts came on sinkers.

Heston's durability proved timely for the Giants, who own a seven-game winning streak in their infrequent encounters against the Astros. He enabled the bullpen to rest for a full, valuable game.

"We were hoping to give some guys another day," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It couldn't have worked out better."

Chris Haft is a reporter for Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.
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