Giants' non-slugger hits three-run double

HOUSTON -- Andy Pettitte had Barry Bonds all figured out in his National League debut. If only the left-hander could have solved Neifi Perez.

Pettitte, making his first start for the Houston Astros, didn't let Bonds tie Willie Mays on the career homer list but did give up a three-run double to the light-hitting Perez in the San Francisco Giants' 7-5 victory Tuesday night.

"I just got into some trouble and didn't make some pitches that I had to," said Pettitte, who gave up six runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. "I just didn't get the job done."

Pettitte's previous 276 starts all came with the New York Yankees, where he spent his first nine major league seasons. He signed a three-year contract with his hometown Astros in the offseason and helped coax his buddy Roger Clemens out of retirement.

The Rocket makes his first NL start on Wednesday.

Pettitte had never faced Bonds until the slugger came up with two on in the first, just one homer behind his godfather, Mays, who sits at No. 3 on the all-time list with 660. Bonds grounded into an inning-ending double play, causing the usually reserved Pettitte to give a Clemens-like fist-pump.

Pettitte got Bonds to pop out in the fourth inning, but the giant Giant turned out to be the least of his worries. The next three batters reached for Perez, the No. 8 hitter, and he pulled Pettitte's offering to left for a bases-clearing double.

With the Giants up 4-3 in the sixth, Perez hit another RBI double to deep center and scored on a pinch-hit single by Pedro Feliz. Perez finished 4-for-4 with four RBI.

That was it for Pettitte, who took the loss and left to a warm ovation despite the rocky outing.

"[Perez] was probably the key from the standpoint of Andy's pitching," Astros manager Jimy Williams said.

Perez had been 1-for-7 against Pettitte before the journeyman shortstop got three straight hits Tuesday.

"He looks the same. I faced him when I was in Kansas City, and when you get two strikes he likes to come with the [cut fastball] inside," Perez said. "I just tried to have a good swing, not hit the ball out of the park, and you saw the results."

The near-capacity crowd stayed behind Pettitte from beginning to end, including the two times he struck out with the bases loaded. Several spectators sported Pettitte or Clemens jerseys, some with Astros pinstripes, others with Yankees pinstripes.

Pettitte said he kept his cool through all the excitement.

"I thought I was going to be a little more amped up than I was," he said. "I was surprisingly relaxed for all the buildup."

Brett Tomko gave up three runs and seven hits in four-plus innings in his debut with the Giants after signing as a free agent in January. David Aardsma, the Giants' 2003 first-round draft pick whose family lives in suburban Houston, earned the win in his major league debut with two scoreless innings.

Aardsma's father, mother and sister were in the third-base seats, part of a 45-person rooting section. Aardsma's mother, Deborah, recalled her son wearing No. 21 on a Little League team called the Red Sox because it was Clemens' number.

"And now he's pitching against his team. Can you believe it?" she said.

Aardsma, who was presented with the game ball and the lineup card, said he got butterflies when he was told to start throwing.

"When I was down in the bullpen, I was as nervous as I've ever been," said Aardsma, who acknowledged he heard his family cheering. "Then when I began throwing warmup pitches on the mound, everything went away and it became me and the hitter."

Matt Herges, filling in for injured Robb Nen as San Francisco's closer, got four outs for his second consecutive save. Herges retired Jeff Bagwell with two on to end it.

The Astros rallied in the eighth when Richard Hidalgo drove in Adam Everett and Bagwell with a bases-loaded single off Herges. But Herges rebounded, getting Mike Lamb to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice.

Game notes
Aardsma, who played his college ball at nearby Rice and was the 22nd overall selection in the amateur draft, officially jumped to the top of the all-time major league alphabetical roster, supplanting Hank Aaron. ... Williams started Lamb at third, although he cautioned that he just wanted to give his newest player some playing time and was not planning to platoon starter Morgan Ensberg. "Don't read anything into it," Williams said. ... Jeff Kent went 3-for-5 with an RBI for the Astros. ... Houston tied a club record for a nine-inning game by stranding 16 runners.