Correia, Molina lead Giants past Padres
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Kevin Correia’s 28th birthday started out with the wrong kind of bang. It ended with the San Francisco right-hander earning only his second victory since April while helping the Giants extend their longest winning streak of the season.
Brian Giles homered into McCovey Cove on the game’s first pitch, but Correia (3-7) was solid after that. He struck out four and walked two as the Giants won their fifth straight and handed the Padres their seventh consecutive loss.
“It’s almost better that he hit it in the water (instead) of a double because then you’ve got a stress inning right off the bat,” Correia said. “It’s not really that big of a deal when that happens. It’s just one of those things that guys want to swing at the first pitch and they kind of know what’s going to come.”
Correia, who missed 44 games earlier this season with a strained muscle in his rib cage, has pitched well over the past month but hasn’t had much to show for it. San Francisco’s right-hander was winless in his last four starts and was 1-4 with seven no-decisions since coming off the disabled list before beating San Diego.
While he struggled at times against the Padres, Correia received plenty of support from his teammates. Molina’s three-run homer capped a four-run sixth inning for San Francisco, which scored seven runs for the first time since Correia’s last win on July 28 against the Dodgers. His only other win came against St. Louis on April 10.
“He pitched great and he’s been pitching great,” Molina said. “That’s why I wanted to help him so bad to win that game.”
Molina finished with three hits and came within a triple of hitting for the cycle for the first time. He also had an RBI double in the fourth and a run-scoring single in the fifth.
Winn and Fred Lewis added three hits apiece for San Francisco, which has its longest winning streak since taking six in a row Aug. 23-28, 2007.
“The three-run homer couldn’t have come at a better time,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It was a well-played game. We got down, battled back, and we had a big inning thanks to Bengie.”
Brian Wilson worked a perfect ninth to earn his NL-leading 35th save in 38 chances.
The sweep of the Padres was the Giants’ first in San Francisco since Aril 5-7, 2002. They also won a two-game series in San Diego earlier this year and have won 10 of the last 14 games between the two teams.
The Padres (48-82), meanwhile, fell a season-high 34 games under .500. It didn’t help that right-hander Josh Banks lasted just three innings, the shortest start of his career, forcing manager Bud Black to go deep into his bullpen beginning in the fourth inning.
“I just saw some pitches that were out of location and saw some hard-hit balls,” Black said. “It was a decision made based on how the momentum of that inning was going.”
Giles’ home run in the first inning was his fourth career leadoff homer.
San Diego added two more in the fourth, stringing together four straight one-out singles off Correia. Edgar Gonzalez drove in Kevin Kouzmanoff, then Chase Headley later beat Winn’s throw to the plate after Nick Hundley had singled to make it 3-0.
Correia settled down to retire eight of his final 10 batters before giving way to reliever Jack Taschner to start the seventh.
“I’m glad Bochy stuck with me there because I really felt stronger toward the end than I have pretty much the whole season,” Correia said. “He gave me the opportunity to prove I could go out there and put some up zeros and give myself a chance to win.”
Molina got San Francisco’s offense going when he doubled in Lewis in the fourth. Molina was also credited with an RBI single in the fifth when Headley, San Diego’s left fielder, lost a fly ball in the sun. The ball bounced off the wall, allowing Ivan Ochoa to score and cut the lead to 3-2. Pablo Sandoval then tied the game with an RBI single off reliever Brian Falkenborg.
San Diego added a run in the eighth and loaded the bases with two outs, but Taschner struck out Jody Gerut to end the threat.
The Padres have seven leadoff home runs this season. … Banks was 1-0 with a 0.56 ERA in two previous starts this year against San Francisco … The Giants improved to 7-1 in their last eight series.