Giants 8, Padres 2
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—The San Francisco Giants are on their best roll yet, and they finally found their new first baseman well before the trading deadline.
Matt Cain took a shutout into the ninth to win for the first time in more than a month, and the Giants beat the San Diego Padres 8-2 on Friday night before announcing they traded for Shea Hillenbrand.
The Giants won their season-high fourth straight game and pulled within a half-game of the first-place Padres in the NL West, then made a big addition to their offense afterward.
San Francisco sent reliever Jeremy Accardo to Toronto for Hillenbrand and reliever Vinnie Chulk, getting in Hillenbrand the every day first baseman and offensive threat they had been seeking before the trade deadline. Both players were expected to be in uniform for the Giants on Saturday night against the San Diego Padres.
“This team is really focused. It is built around veterans for a reason. To get something done sooner, than to have to wait in what I perceive to be a very slow market, hopefully bodes well,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “I think the team will appreciate that we’re putting this foot forward.”
Hillenbrand was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Wednesday after he wrote on the clubhouse bulletin board that the “ship was sinking” and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons challenged him to a fight.
Hillenbrand, who has a $5.8 million contract for this season, is batting .301 with 12 homers, 15 doubles and 39 RBIs. He will be the regular first baseman after injury-plagued Lance Niekro struggled as the starter and was sent down to the minors.
“There were a number of guys who came into my office last night asking me if we knew that Hillenbrand was available,” said San Francisco skipper Felipe Alou, who hadn’t yet decided where to bat Hillenbrand. “A couple of those guys have been teammates with him. The word was that he’s a good guy on the team and we all know what kind of player he is. I think he’ll fit perfectly in the situation right now.”
Barry Bonds left the game in the third inning with a left knee contusion in the quadriceps area and was listed as day-to-day.
Mark Sweeney hit a two-run single, Omar Vizquel had an RBI triple and doubled in a run and Pedro Feliz added an RBI groundout. After San Diego won five of the first six meetings in the season series, the Giants have taken the last four.
Cain (7-6) came within one out of getting his second career shutout, but gave up a two-run homer to Khalil Greene in the ninth. The right-hander gave up seven hits and two runs, while striking out five and walking one. He also had his first career multihit game with a double and single.
Cain ended a four-start winless stretch that featured a loss followed by three straight no-decisions since he won five straight. He won for the first time since beating the Los Angeles Angels on June 19.
Padres starter Jake Peavy (4-10), plunked Bonds in the first inning and he grimaced and stood in pain in the batter’s box for a short time before slowly walking to first and staying in the game. But he had trouble running to first following a leadoff single in the third. Todd Linden entered as a pinch runner for Bonds, then took over in left field.
Bonds had surgery on his left knee in October 2004, then underwent three operations on his right knee last year that limited him to 14 games in 2005.
He hit his 722nd career home run in Thursday night’s win over the Padres, his 14th of the season that moved him within 33 of tying Hank Aaron’s all-time record of 755.
Bonds turns 42 on Monday and said before Friday’s game that his right knee is feeling better than it has for a long time.
“I feel great,” he said. “My knee feels 100 percent. I’m not lifting heavy like I used to. My body is just sore because I’m older.”
Peavy, who has two of his wins against the Giants this year, was done after four innings—his second-shortest outing of the year behind the 3 2-3 innings he pitched June 6 at Milwaukee. The right-hander allowed nine hits and seven runs, struck out three and walked two.
“I’m going to make some good starts for us before it’s all said and done,” Peavy said. “I’ve got to. I’m running out of time.”
Ray Durham hit a two-run triple to extend his hitting streak to seven games and is batting .400 (10-for-25) with four home runs and 10 RBIs in seven games during this homestand.
San Diego’s Mike Piazza recorded his 2,000th career hit when he doubled leading off the second.
Linden stole his first base after replacing Bonds at first. … Padres OF Brian Giles got a day off to rest his tight right hamstring. … San Diego C Josh Bard and bench coach Tony Muser served one-game suspensions. Muser was ejected from Sunday’s game against Atlanta for arguing balls and strikes, while Bard was ejected in a June 25 game against Seattle. … Padres third base coach Glenn Hoffman missed the game with food poisoning.