Padres 7, Giants 4
After going 15-42 against the Giants in the last three season, the Padres have turned it around and are in contention in the NL West for the first time in six years.
San Diego has won 10 of 13 against the defending NL West champions.
“We’ve been beat on by them for quite a few years,” San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. “I’m not going to lie. It’s nice to get some wins from them because the last few years we’ve had as tough a time against them as any club in baseball.”
San Diego remained 2 1-2 games behind the first-place Dodgers in the NL West, while the Giants fell 4 1-2 games back.
“Baseball is such a strange, cruel game some times in terms of how matchups work,” Nevin said. “So far this year we’ve been hot at the right time against (the Giants).”
San Diego did just about everything right against San Francisco, getting key hits, heads-up base-running and outstanding relief work.
“We’re playing good ball,” said Ryan Klesko, who had a double and an RBI triple in the seventh. “We’ve got a lot of confidence going right now.”
Nevin’s RBI single in the sixth came after Klesko’s leadoff double against Brett Tomko and made it 5-4. Brian Giles followed with a double that knocked Tomko (5-6) out of the game. Felix Rodriguez came in and walked Terrence Long to load the bases with no outs.
Khalil Greene drove in his second run with a sacrifice fly for a 6-4 lead before Rodriguez got out of the inning.
“They aren’t the same Padres as when I played there,” said Tomko, who pitched for San Diego in 2002. “I don’t think people give them enough credit. I think a lot of people overlook them and don’t give them a second thought.”
Bonds’ two-run homer off Valdez to the opposite field landed in the first row, just beyond the left-field wall and out of the reach of Klesko.
Bonds became the 15th player in major league history to reach 1,800 RBIs. He has 1,801, leaving him 12 behind Frank Robinson in 14th place.
Bonds’ 26th homer of the season was his 78th against the Padres and raised his RBI total against San Diego to 198, both career highs against any opponent.
It was also the 40th home run that Bonds has hit in San Diego, the most by any Padres’ opponent, but his first at Petco Park, which opened this season.
Ray Durham led off the game with his 10th home run. It was Durham’s 31st career leadoff homer, tying him with Chuck Knoblauch for seventh place on the career list.
A sacrifice fly by Long tied the game in the second inning before Bonds homered in the fourth for a 3-1 lead.
San Diego cut the lead to 3-2 when Giles led off the fifth with a double and scored on Greene’s groundout. But with two outs, Tomko walked Miguel Ojeda and Valdez followed with a single. Sean Burroughs then lined a single to center where a hard-charging Michael Tucker allowed the ball to roll under his glove all the way to the wall.
Two runs scored as Burroughs was credited with an RBI single and Tucker was charged with a two-base error.
“The play in center field was a big play because they were stopping the runner at third base,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “There was more intensity, more aggressiveness from (the Padres).”
Valdez scored on the play, but appeared to pull up lame as he crossed home plate. He came out to warm up for the sixth inning with Bochy and assistant trainer Jim Daniel watching. Valdez stayed in the game, but was lifted two batters into the inning when Bonds doubled with one out.
Tomko allowed six runs—five earned—on eight hits over five-plus innings. Valdez gave up four runs on six hits in 5 1-3 innings.
With six games remaining between the teams, the Padres clinched the season series for the first time since 1998. … Bonds has homered in 33 parks.