Monday, April 21, 2014
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Posey, Lincecum Lead Giants Past Padres

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[April 21, 2014]  SAN DIEGO  Catcher Buster Posey put the struggling Giants on the board with a two-run homer in the first and Tim Lincecum limited the San Diego Padres to three runs on seven hits over six-plus innings Sunday afternoon as San Francisco snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 win.

Center fielder Angel Pagan followed Posey's first-inning blast with a two-run single in the second to give San Francisco a quick 4-0 lead. The four runs were one fewer than the slumping Giants had scored in their last four games combined.

The Giants' one-run win, which also included a successful appeal at the plate that took a Padres run off the board, was San Francisco's fifth in a string of nine, one-run decisions in the last 10 games.

"Unbelievable," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "I've been in a few runs where you played tight games, but never like this."

Lincecum (1-1, 6.43 earned run average) threw a no-hitter at Petco Park last July 13. He improved to 14-6 in his career against the Padres and is 8-3 lifetime at Petco Park.

The Padres had a crucial run taken off the scoreboard in the third when Giants manager Bruce Bochy made a successful appeal of a safe call at home by plate umpire Mike DiMuro.

With the Padres trailing 4-0, third baseman Chase Headley pulled a bases-loaded double into the right-field corner off Lincecum.

Center fielder Will Venable and left fielder Seth Smith scored easily and DiMuro ruled right fielder Xavier Nady scored from first by avoiding Posey's tag at the plate. Bochy appealed and replays showed Posey had tagged out Nady. The Padres didn't question the reversal.

"Obviously, that changed the game today," Bochy said. "That's the toughest call to make in baseball."

"A couple of guys came in said they got Nady," said Padres manager Bud Black.

"I felt the tag on my back," Nady said. "I felt Posey tagged me before I reached the plate. What I didn't know is if he held onto the ball until I got to the dugout."

Said Headley of the play: "I was hoping he snuck in there and he got the call right, or that the video was inconclusive."

Instead of having the tying run on third and two out, the Padres were out of the inning and trailing by two.

The significance of that came into play in the bottom of the seventh when Padres catcher Nick Hundley lined Lincecum's first pitch of the inning  and last of the game  over the wall in left for a solo homer that made it 4-3. The 369-foot drive, Hundley's first homer of the season, came on a changeup.

Padres starting left-hander Robbie Erlin (1-2, 4.15 ERA) finished strong for the Padres, retiring the last 14 Giants he faced.

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But he struggled early with his command and control as the Giants scored twice in each of the first two innings to take a 4-0 lead  a huge edge against a Padres team that had been averaging 2.8 runs per game.

Walks were Erlin's downfall.

He walked right fielder Hunter Pence with one out in the first immediately ahead of Posey's 427-foot, first-pitch drive into the Padres bullpen in left center.

"I think my timing's been off a little bit," Posey said. "I think on was on time much better today."

Said Hundley: "That was a good pitch Posey hit, a pitcher's pitch. It was a fastball down and away."

In the second, the Giants loaded the bases with one out on a single by shortstop Brandon Crawford sandwiched by walks to second baseman Brandon Hicks and Lincecum. Center fielder Angel Pagan singled home Hicks and Crawford to make it 4-0  although Erlin retired Pence on a pop to third and Posey on a fly to center to prevent further damage.

"I lacked first-pitch strikes in the first and second," Erlin said. "Early, the curve was a little up and a little down. Later I got a feel for it."

NOTES: The Giants didn't get a hit after the second inning Sunday and finished with 12 hits in the three-game series. ... Six of C Nick Hundley's last 14 homers  and 12 of his 47 career homers  have come against the Giants. ... Padres SS Everth Cabrera had his eighth multi-hit game of the season Sunday. He has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games. ... Each team rested slumping regulars Sunday. 3B Pablo Sandoval (.171) was given Easter off by the Giants. The Padres rested 2B Jedd Gyorko (.148 and hitless in 10 straight at-bats) and 1B Yonder Alonso (.206). Both Gyorko and Alonso were retired as pinch hitters Sunday.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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