San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) – Alberto Gonzalez and Will Venable both hit RBI singles in the ninth inning to lift the San Diego Padres over the San Francisco Giants, 7-5, in the opener of a quick two-game series.
The Giants sent Ramon Ramirez (2-2) to the mound in the ninth after scoring three runs in the eighth to tie the game. Nick Hundley led off with a double down the left-field line, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored the go-ahead run on Gonzalez’s base hit up the middle. Gonzalez advanced to second on a wild pitch and crossed the plate on Venable’s single to right to account for the final margin.
Mat Latos gave up two runs — one earned — on three hits in a six-inning start for the Padres, who have won a season-high five straight games. Erik Hamren (1-0) recorded the final out in the eighth to pick up his first victory in the majors. Heath Bell got his 35th save.
“For us to go out there and win this game, especially the way we did it builds a lot of character with these guys,” Bell said.
Cody Ross, Hector Sanchez and Orlando Cabrera each drove in a run for the Giants, who sit two games back of Arizona in the NL West. The Diamondbacks beat the Nationals on Tuesday.
Matt Cain allowed five runs — three earned — on six hits over seven innings for San Francisco, which has lost six of eight.
“We couldn’t quite finish the deal there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “But we had some big hits late.”
San Diego scored four runs over the first three innings to jump out to an early lead. Jason Bartlett got things going in the first inning with a one-out double to right. Bartlett moved to third on Cameron Maybin’s groundout and crossed the plate on Jesus Guzman’s base hit to left.
The Padres tacked on two runs in the second. Orlando Hudson reached first on Cain’s fielding error and crossed the plate on Kyle Blanks’ homer to left.
The away team added another run in the third to make it 4-0. Venable led off with a double, advanced to third on Bartlett’s groundout and scored on Maybin’s single to left.
Latos started to get wild in the fourth. With two outs, Latos walked three straight batters to load the bases, but Aaron Rowand grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
The Giants’ first hit of the game came in the fifth. Chris Stewart led off the frame with a bloop single to center. Stewart moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, but was stranded there.
A defensive error allowed San Francisco to score a pair of runs in the sixth. Pablo Sandoval led off with a single and moved to third on Aubrey Huff’s double off the bricks in right. Brandon Belt then hit a routine grounder to first baseman Guzman, who decided to throw home instead of stepping on first base. His errant throw allowed two runs to score. Latos retired the next three batters to keep it a 4-2 contest.
A pair of errors by the Giants in the seventh allowed the Padres to score a run. Hudson led off with single, stole second and moved to third on Stewart’s throwing error. Hundley followed with a grounder to second baseman Jeff Keppinger, whose bad throw home allowed Hudson to score.
San Francisco came back with three runs in the eighth to tie the game. Josh Spence gave up a one-out single to Belt before handing the ball over to Luke Gregerson. Ross greeted him with an RBI double over Maybin’s head in center. Rowand reached first on third baseman Logan Forsythe’s error to put men on the corners. Pinch-hitter Sanchez followed with is first hit in the big leagues — an RBI single to right-center field. Cabrera’s run-scoring single to left made it a 5-5 game. Joe Thatcher and Hamren combined to record the final two outs of the inning.
San Francisco is 6-5 against the Padres this season and took three of four meetings from July 14-17 at Petco Park. The Padres went 12-6 in the 2010 season series…The Padres started an eight-game road trip, while the Giants got a 12-game homestand underway…San Francisco activated right fielder Carlos Beltran from the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. Beltran came on as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and popped out. In a corresponding move, the Giants placed pitcher Jonathan Sanchez on the 15- day disabled list with a left ankle sprain.