SAN DIEGO Looking to snap a four-game losing streak, the Giants had the right pitcher on the mound and the right team in the opposing dugout.
Madison Bumgarner did the heavy lifting in a 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on Thursday night, winning for the sixth time in seven starts.
The Giants have won 18 of their past 27 games against the Padres and are 3-0 against them since June 18. During that span, San Francisco is 3-16 against the rest of the league.
Bumgarner gave up two runs in the first inning but then retired 16 straight batters before giving up a two-out single to Carlos Quentin in the sixth. He set down the next four Padres before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning.
Bumgarner was charged with two earned runs, allowing four hits while striking out six. At a time when the bullpen is overworked, the All-Star has pitched exactly seven innings in each of his past seven starts.
The Giants again wasted a plethora of scoring opportunities, but at least they finally got a little pop from an important bat. Pablo Sandoval homered to right-center field in the fourth inning, breaking a streak of 101 at-bats without a home run. The blast was Sandoval's first since May 21.
The newest Giants starter tied the score in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, left fielder Kensuke Tanaka lined a single up the middle to bring Sandoval home. Tanaka also singled to lead off the eighth and stole second before scoring the go-ahead run on Gregor Blanco's double. Blanco scored two batters later on Buster Posey's single to left, putting the Giants up 4-2.
Notes A day after pulling Matt Cain in the first inning, manager Bruce Bochy again insisted the right-hander is healthy and pointed out that Cain played catch Thursday afternoon. The Giants discovered elbow fragments early in Cain's career, and Bochy said Cain probably still has them.
"But it hasn't affected him as far as I know," Bochy said. "He's fine. From my perspective, (on Wednesday) he just came off a start where he worked pretty hard. Now you're back out there and you walked some guys. I didn't want to take any chances."
Cain threw 36 pitches Wednesday and was pulled with two outs in the first. After looking back at the outing, Bochy said he thought the main problem was simply Cain's inability to locate his slider.
Bochy would not reveal when Cain would make his next start, saying he would likely wait until Sunday afternoon to announce his rotation to begin the second half of the season.
Ryan Vogelsong threw 30 pitches, all fastballs, during his first bullpen session since having surgery on a fractured finger.
"Felt good. Hand is good, arm is good," Vogelsong said. "I've just got to get some timing back."
Vogelsong said he wasn't sure when he will begin a rehab assignment, but he is eager to return to a team that has plummeted in the standings.
"I wish I could get back out there tomorrow," he said. "But at the same time, you've got to be smart and do what they need me to do."