Originally created 04/23/04

Padres top Giants



SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Diego Padres knew in spring training they had an improved lineup.

But they couldn't have envisioned things being this much better - they pounded 52 hits in four games at San Francisco.

Phil Nevin hit a two-run homer and the Padres had another big offensive outing to defeat the Giants 9-4 Thursday.

"For our confidence, it means a lot," Nevin said. "I still think that's the team to beat in our division."

Ismael Valdez (2-0) pitched 5 2-3 strong innings on a day slugger Barry Bonds was held out of the lineup to rest.

San Diego took three out of four from the Giants in a ballpark where the Padres have traditionally had problems. They did it by getting 12 hits Thursday, a season-high 17 on Wednesday, 15 on Tuesday and eight on Monday.

The Giants are 14-3-3 in season series against San Diego since the start of the 2001 season. The Padres had not won a four-game series at San Francisco in nearly six years.

The Padres have already equaled their win total against the Giants from last season - San Diego went 5-14 vs. San Francisco in 2003 and is off to a 5-2 start against the Giants this year.

"Every year's a different year," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "Since this ballpark's been here we've had a very difficult time here. It's nice to see us play well here, which we did this series."

The Padres outscored the Giants 29-9.

After allowing two runs in the first inning, Valdez cruised until giving up a two-run triple to Neifi Perez in the sixth that chased the right-hander. Valdez gave up two earned runs on six hits, struck out one and walked two.

"I have to be honest with you, these guys are putting up great numbers offensively," Valdez said. "I made my pitches. I was hitting the strike zone and getting ahead in the count. I'm really happy with the results."

Brian Buchanan had two hits and two RBIs, Miguel Ojeda had two hits and drove in a run and Khalil Greene had a two-run double and singled for the Padres.

Kirk Rueter (0-2) got a 1-2-3 first inning before the Padres scored six times in the second. Three of the runs were unearned after second baseman Ray Durham dropped a flip from Perez at shortstop.

"It wasn't a difficult play at all," Perez said. "After I threw the ball I didn't see what happened. It's baseball. We hit a lot of balls hard and there were double plays, and a lot of their balls fell. There's no excuses."

Greene's double highlighted the inning. Sean Burroughs and Ojeda also singled in runs.

The Giants lost 11-0 Wednesday with ace Jason Schmidt on the mound. The team that won 100 games and the NL West last season has lost seven of eight.

"We didn't make that one play," manager Felipe Alou said of Durham's drop. "It could have been a turning point, we don't know. A funk is a funk and right now we are in a funk. We have to fight our way out of it, and when I mean fight I mean through hitting, pitching and defense."

Bonds, the six-time NL MVP, got a much-needed day off. He is expected to play all three weekend games in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

"He is really tired," Alou said. "You can see it in the outfield. He's been busy."

That's for sure.

On Wednesday, Bonds' home run streak ended at seven straight games, leaving him one shy of tying the major league mark shared by Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993). Bonds asked to be taken out in the eighth inning.

On Thursday, the Giants went up 2-0 in the first on Durham's solo homer, his first of the season and 26th career leadoff home run, and an RBI single by Jeffrey Hammonds.

Giants lefty reliever Scott Eyre made his first appearance of the season in the eighth after being activated following Wednesday's game from the disabled list. He had a lower back strain.

Notes: The Giants grounded into their major-league leading 24th double play. ... Rueter hit a two-out double in the third for his first extra-base hit since Aug. 31, 2000, at Pittsburgh. ... The Giants are in last place in the division for the first time since June 12, 2001, when they trailed Arizona by six games. ... San Diego's last four-game series win at San Francisco was June 18-21, 1998. ... Giants CF Marquis Grissom also got the day off, and so did Padres RF Brian Giles.