SAN FRANCISCO — Scott Kazmir returned to the Bay Area where he had been so good for the Oakland Athletics, then he ran right into the ace and World Series MVP on the other side of the water in Madison Bumgarner.
Kazmir surrendered two solo home runs to Brandon Belt and found himself on the other side of Bumgarner's 12-strikeout, five-hit gem as the Houston Astros lost 3-1 to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
Kazmir, who had allowed only one earned run for a 0.44 ERA in three starts since joining his hometown Astros in a July 23 trade from the A's, committed two throwing errors while losing his second straight start.
"I took my time on the first one and should have held on to the second one," he said. "It was frustrating."
Bumgarner (13-6) outpitched Kazmir (6-7) in an anticipated interleague matchup of top lefties. Bumgarner earned his eighth career complete game and second this season. He didn't walk a batter in the 105-pitch performance.
Belt's homers, in the fourth and sixth innings, gave him 17 this season to match his career high also done in 2013. It was his third career multihomer game and second this year for the defending champion Giants, who bounced back at home after being swept by the Cubs in four games over the weekend at Wrigley Field.
"Those pitches I'd like to have back. You get behind in the count to a guy like that and it's tough to pitch that way," Kazmir said.
Kazmir again lasted 5 2-3 innings, giving up two earned runs and seven hits, struck out three and walked two.
Bumgarner posted his 23rd career double-digit strikeout game and fourth this season. He surrendered a triple to Evan Gattis in the seventh on a ball center fielder Gregor Blanco had in his glove but dropped after crashing into the wall. Chris Carter drove home Gattis with a single two batters later to put the Astros on the board.
"We ran into one of the better pitchers in the bigs. He really had good stuff and we couldn't really rally against him," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "He's one of the best and you try to scratch and claw a little bit. We had a chance to score early but when he needed, he pitched tough."
During one stretch Bumgarner struck out seven consecutive batters, and he won for the fifth time in six starts. The seven straight strikeouts matched the San Francisco-era record also done by Jonathan Sanchez on Aug. 3, 2010, at Colorado, and Hall of Famer Juan Marichal on Sept. 6, 1964, at Philadelphia.
"Strikeouts are strikeouts. Outs are outs. At no point did I realize he had any kind of streak," Houston's Hank Conger said.
Hinch had the rare day off Monday in his adopted hometown of Stanford after playing in Oakland. He visited his alma mater and watched the Cardinal's opening football practice on campus.
"I love the Bay Area," he said. "I consider this place like a second home."
Astros: RF George Springer will have his fractured right wrist re-evaluated by a doctor once the team returns home to determine when he can begin strengthening and other rehab work. He was hit with a fastball by Edinson Volquez on July 1 at Minute Maid Park. "We're all anxiously waiting," Hinch said. "I'm hopeful the next appointment will tell us we can progress in baseball activities."
Giants: CF Angel Pagan went on the 15-day DL with patella tendinitis in his right knee. ... RHP Tim Lincecum (bruised right forearm) threw a 40-pitch bullpen session he considered on par with a regular "in-between-start bullpen." He remains optimistic he will pitch again this year. ... RHP Tim Hudson threw a bullpen to test his strained throwing shoulder, and the Giants will discuss their next move with him as he was eligible to be activated Tuesday. ... Backup C Andrew Susac was relegated to a DH role in his rehab assignment for Class-A San Jose following a root canal Monday.
Astros: RHP Scott Feldman tries again for his first career victory versus the Giants after starting 0-4 in five appearances and three starts, including 0-3 at AT&T Park.
Giants: Rookie RHP Chris Heston, knocked out of his last two starts without reaching five innings, looks for another fine start against the Astros after he tossed his first career complete game at Houston on May 12.