SAN FRANCISCO -- Juan Perez, Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence
hit home runs, powering the San Francisco Giants
to a 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres
on Friday night in the opener of a season-ending, three-game series.
The win allowed the Giants, the defending National League West and World Series champions, to move into a tie with the Padres for third place in the division at 75-85. The Giants have won nine of their last 13 games. Ryan Vogelsong
(4-6), the third consecutive starter making perhaps his final Giants appearance as he prepares to embark on free agency, won for the first time in six starts. He gave up five hits and four walks but just two runs in six innings. He struck out three.
After Perez's first major-league home run, a two-run blast, had rallied the Giants from an early deficit, Belt followed a Tony Abreu single in the third with a shot into the right field pavilion for a 4-2 lead. The home run was the first baseman's 17th of the season.
Pence made it a three-run game with his 26th home run two batters later, giving the Giants just their second three-homer home game of the season.
All three homers came off Padres right-hander Burch Smith (1-3), who was scorched for six runs in 5 2/3 innings. He surrendered eight hits and three walks but did intersperse eight strikeouts.
The Giants padded the lead in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk by reliever Tommy Layne. The left-hander faced two batters and walked them both on eight pitches. Gregor Blanco
, who had two earlier singles, got the RBI on the bases-loaded walk.
Blanco made it a three-hit, two-RBI night with a triple in the eighth that scored Perez, who had opened the inning with his third hit, a double. Blanco was gunned down at the plate attempting for an inside-the-park home run.
Abreu also had three hits apiece for the Giants, who outhit the Padres 11-9.
Rookie standout Jedd Gyorko had three of San Diego's nine hits. Pinch-hitter Logan Forsythe's first-pitch home run off Javier Lopez in the top of the ninth capped the scoring.
The win was the Giants' 10th in 17 games against San Diego, allowing them to clinch the season series.
Gyorko had a hand in the Padres' runs in the first and third against Vogelsong. His first-inning single was sandwiched between hits by Chris Denorfia and Tommy Medica, with Medica's two-out single producing the run.
Gyorko produced his team-leading 57th RBI with a third-inning double, again scoring Denorfia. Gyorko was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into the first triple of his career.
NOTES: The Giants and Padres are meeting on the final weekend of the season for the third time in the past five years. ... Colorado's loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers assured the Rockies will finish behind the Giants and Padres in the NL West. ... In his season-ending news conference before the game, San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean insisted that he has no regrets with the franchise's return on its seven-year, $126 million investment in LHP Barry Zito
, who posted a 63-80 record and 4.62 ERA as a Giant. "As crazy as it might sound to you folks, if I had it to do all over again, I would've done what we did to sign Barry Zito," he said. "When we needed him the most, he helped us win the (2012) World Series. I find great satisfaction in that." ... The Giants also announced before the game that Pence had been selected the winner of the Willie Mac Award, given annually to the club's most inspirational player. Pence is the only major leaguer to have started all 160 games through Friday. ... Padres backup C Rene Rivera is not with the team for the season-ending series, having returned to his native Puerto Rico to be with his wife, Mariel, who is expecting twins this weekend. ... Jimmy Spithill, skipper of the America's Cup-winning boat, attended the game with several members of his crew.
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