Padres win 8-2 to take key series with Giants
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Diego Padres are far from ready to crown themselves NL West champions, not in mid-August and not with such a narrow division lead, even if they have repeatedly handled the team right on their heels.
This time, by beating Giants ace Tim Lincecum in the process.
Yorvit Torrealba homered and Miguel Tejada hit a two-run single to back Wade LeBlanc, and the first-place Padres took a key series from San Francisco with an 8-2 victory Sunday.
“They’re not going anywhere,” manager Bud Black said of the Giants. “Any time you win a series on the road it’s a good series. We’ll be happy with this but not content with anything.”
Tony Gwynn Jr. and Everth Cabrera also singled in runs in San Diego’s four-run second as the Padres moved 31/2 games ahead of the Giants in the division standings.
Lincecum (11-7) has the first losing streak of three straight starts in his career. The two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, facing the Padres for the first time since beating them on July 9 last year, was done after his second-shortest outing this year of 3 2-3 innings.
He gave up his share of bloop hits.
“I missed my spots here and there. There were a lot of bloop hits here and there but hits are hits and a loss is a loss,” he said. “At the end of the day that’s what I have to look at it as and just get better from here.”
The Padres beat the Giants for the ninth time in 11 meetings this year.
“It just goes to show we’re a better team than people give us credit for,” third baseman Chase Headley said. “We’ve played well against them, but there’s a long way to go. This series, as big as it was made out to be, there’s a lot of baseball left.”
Giants rookie Buster Posey, batting second for the first time this season, hit a two-run homer in the third. That ended a 101 at-bat homerless drought dating to his last homer July 17 against the New York Mets’ Hisanori Takahashi.
Yet LeBlanc (7-10) didn’t make many mistakes.
He allowed two runs on four hits – three of them to Posey – in seven strong innings, struck out seven and walked two in winning back-to-back starts for the third time all season.
The lefty was coming off a win over Pittsburgh last Tuesday in which he matched his career high with eight strikeouts. He had lost his two previous starts.
Ryan Ludwick and Headley each had RBI singles for San Diego, which also scored an unearned run in the third on Pablo Sandoval’s throwing error. Sandoval fielded Torrealba’s two-hopper and stepped on third to force out Ludwick, but threw over Aubrey Huff’s head at first.
Lincecum returned to his 2009 warmup tune of “Electric Feel” by alternative band MGMT to try to get himself going again.
He struck out the side in the first, getting leadoff man Will Venable and No. 3 hitter Adrian Gonzalez swinging with change-ups, then cleanup hitter Ludwick on a 93 mph fastball. He finished with six Ks and was tagged for six runs, five earned, on eight hits.
“I’ve just got to find the consistency, I guess,” Lincecum said. “The first inning, that was probably the biggest positive I could take from today, probably the best inning I’ve thrown in the last few outings. I just have to get back to that and replicate it.”
Lincecum is 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA over his last six starts. He has allowed 14 earned runs in only 14 innings in his last three outings, with seven walks and 17 strikeouts.
Giants starters are winless in their last 12 games, going 0-7 with a 5.88 ERA.
Jose Guillen earned his first start in right field for the Giants since being acquired Friday from the Kansas City Royals. He batted sixth as manager Bruce Bochy went with his strongest regular starting lineup, and the outfielder received a rousing ovation when he stepped into the batter’s box in the first inning.
Guillen tried to stretch a double to a triple in the fourth and wasn’t even close. The hit snapped an 0-for-23 funk.
The Padres won their ninth straight Sunday game and 12th in 13 tires. They are 14-5 on Sunday this season overall.
Notes: Gwynn had been 1 for 4 in August before his hit. … San Diego relievers Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson weren’t available after heavy workloads in recent days. … Padres RHP Chris Young is set to throw another bullpen session Monday at Wrigley Field. After that, it could be one more bullpen or a simulated game. Young went on the DL with a strained shoulder April 12, a move that was retroactive to April 7. He had arthroscopic surgery last August and has made only one start this season. … San Francisco LHP reliever Jeremy Affeldt (strained oblique) was set to start and pitch two innings for Class-A San Jose in his second rehab outing. LHP Dan Runzler (dislocated left knee) is headed to Triple-A Fresno after pitching Saturday for San Jose.
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.