The Giants return to San Francisco feeling good about a successful road trip, and admit things will be looking even better if they can take advantage of a home heavy portion of their schedule.
They seem to have a good shot of starting things off on a positive note with Ryan Vogelsong taking the ball in the first game.
The NL West-leading Giants look to win their eighth straight at AT&T Park behind Vogelsong in Monday's night's series opener with the San Diego Padres .
San Francisco (53-42) took two of three in Atlanta and Philadelphia to return home with a 1 1/2-game division lead over Los Angeles."We're getting contributions from one through nine, which is why we had a good trip," Buster Posey said after Sunday's 4-3, 12-inning loss to the Phillies.
Posey has been the biggest contributor to the offense, batting .517 with 11 RBIs in his last seven games.
Fellow All-Star Melky Cabrera has also been no slouch, hitting safely in 14 of 15 games this month, batting .383 with three homers and 11 RBIs.
San Francisco now looks forward to a 10-game homestand, and plays 16 of 23 at AT&T Park, where it's 29-16 - tied for the majors' second-best home record. The Giants have won eight of their last 10 home games with the Padres but San Diego is 7-1 in its last eight on the road, averaging 6.7 runs in those victories.
"If we come out on top on this homestand and hit August running, it'll be a positive thing for this team," reliever Jeremy Affeldt told the Giants' official website.
Vogelsong (7-4, 2.31 ERA) pitching twice on the homestand would seem to bode well for San Francisco. He has a 1.43 ERA in nine games at AT&T Park, and the Giants have won his last seven there since a loss to Miami on May 3.
In Atlanta on Wednesday, the right-hander gave up a run and four hits while striking out seven in a 9-4, 11-inning win. He owns the majors' fourth-best ERA, but also has baseball's third-worst run support average at 3.16.
Vogelsong has made 45 starts for the Giants since the start of last season, but hasn't appeared in one of the 24 games against San Diego. He last faced the Padres in 2006 in a relief role, and his last start against them was in 2004.
San Diego (41-56) arrives in San Francisco after beating Colorado 3-2 on Sunday for its seventh victory in nine games. Chase Headley drove in his team-leading 50th run, and has three homers and eight RBIs in the last nine.
The Padres turn to Clayton Richard (7-10, 3.86) on Monday in the opener of a 10-game road trip with 17 of their next 23 contests away from Petco Park.
Richard came within two outs of his first complete game in two years Wednesday against Houston, allowing four runs and nine hits in an 8-4 win. It was the second time in four starts he pitched into the ninth."We've talked about Clayton's work ethic and what he does between starts, and he's equipped for a complete game," manager Bud Black said.
The left-hander leads the NL in innings with 135 1-3, but has been quite susceptible to serving up the long ball. Richard surrendered two more homers Wednesday, raising his total to 19, tied for fourth-most in the league.
Keeping the ball in the park wouldn't figure to be a problem against a Giants team that has a major league-low 15 homers at home, but he has given up one in each of his two starts against them this year. He has a 5.68 ERA in losing both outings, with Gregor Blanco and Pablo Sandoval each hitting solo shots.
|San Diego Padres|
|July 18, 2012||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|July 04, 2012||Andrew Cashner||15-Day DL||Strained muscle in right side|
|June 21, 2012||Anthony Bass||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|June 10, 2012||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Left game - Sprained neck|
|June 04, 2012||Will Venable||Day-to-Day||Strained right oblique|
|June 04, 2012||Eric Stults||15-Day DL||Strained left latissimus dorsi muscle|
|San Francisco Giants|
|July 18, 2012||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left knee sprain|
|July 17, 2012||Hector Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Left knee sprain|
|June 26, 2012||Shane Loux||15-Day DL||Strained neck|
|June 14, 2012||Aubrey Huff||Day-to-Day||Sprained right knee|
|June 11, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|June 07, 2012||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right hamstring|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- On one of the strangest nights in the 13-year history of AT&T Park, Buster Posey provided some normalcy.
The team's best hitter over the past two weeks, Posey hit his 13th home run and added an RBI single to back Ryan Vogelsong 's first victory in nearly a month while helping the Giants to a 7-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Monday night.
"It's hard to put a value on what he means to this club," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "We saw what life was like without him last year but he's done an unbelievable job here the past few weeks finding ways to get the runs in."
Posey helped the Giants to their fifth consecutive win at home and kept them 1 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West.
It came on a night of unusual plays. There was an overturned call by the umpiring crew, Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera crashed into the stands while catching a foul ball and shortstop Brandon Crawford was ejected for the first time in his career after he had an apparent double wiped out when he allegedly missed first base.
"There were a few weird things," said Posey. "We've had some strange ones lately. We were fortunate to come out on top."
Posey, the team's All-Star catcher, is a big reason why.
His three-run shot off Padres starter Clayton Richard in the fifth inning was his third home run in 11 games and highlighted a 12-hit night for San Francisco.
Since going hitless against Pittsburgh on July 7, Posey has been hot. He went 3 for 4 against San Diego and is batting .512 with 17 RBIs during that stretch.
"I'm just trying to have a good approach every time out," Posey said.
Cabrera and Ryan Theriot added three hits apiece for the Giants, who kicked off their longest homestand of the season. San Francisco also improved to 8-2 since the All-Star break.
The Giants scored four times against Richard in the first inning when they also got some help from the umpiring crew.
Posey's RBI single opened the scoring and Angel Pagan followed with a bases loaded walk. Posey later scored on Joaquin Arias ' fielder's choice to make it 3-0.
Crawford then hit a sinking line drive that Padres left fielder Mark Kotsay caught for the third out. Television replays appeared to show Kotsay trapping the ball, and Bochy came out to dispute the call as both teams left the field.
After a brief meeting, the umpires changed the decision and ruled it a hit. That forced the Padres back onto the field, and Pablo Sandoval , who was on third, was awarded home plate to push the Giants lead to 4-0.
"In a nutshell, when they convened three of four had the ball short-hopped," San Diego manager Bud Black said. Third base umpire Dana DeMuth "thought he saw it the other way but they talked it over and made the change."
Crawford was also involved in another disputed call in the sixth when he hit a one-out double but was called out after the Padres argued that Crawford missed first base and appealed.
Two innings later, Crawford was ejected after grounding out to first base when he appeared to say something to first base umpire Jordan Baker.
It was about the only mistake the Giants made.
Vogelsong allowed one run and four hits over seven innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out six while lowering his ERA to 2.26.
Yasmani Grandal had two hits for San Diego, which has lost five of seven games to San Francisco this season.
The Padres lost to the Giants for the 16th time in the past 21 games between the two clubs and lost center fielder Alexi Amarista to a left thumb injury.
Amarista was hurt while sliding into the bag after stealing second base in the fifth. He stayed in the game and completed the inning before being replaced by Jesus Guzman .
"I think he'll be OK," Black said of Amarista.
Theriot and Cabrera hit consecutive one-out singles in the fifth before Posey's three-run home run off Richard made it 7-1.
Vogelsong (8-4) didn't need much offensive support as it turned out.
The Giants right-hander gave up Yonder Alonso 's sacrifice fly in the fourth after allowing back-to-back hits to open the inning, but was otherwise stellar while winning for the first time since June 26.
Cabrera helped when he fell into the stands while chasing down Kotsay's foul ball leading off the seventh. Cabrera jumped just before the short wall and made the catch before being helped to his feet by nearby fans.
Richard (7-11) gave up seven runs over five innings in his shortest outing of the season for the Padres. Three of his losses have been against the Giants.
NOTES: Sandoval went 1 for 3 with a walk in his first start at first base this season. Bochy made the move because slumping Brandon Belt is mired in a 2-for-32 funk. ... San Diego OF Carlos Quentin was rested a day after agreeing to a $27 million, three-year contract. ... Padres RHP Tim Stauffer (strained right elbow) threw his first bullpen session since going on the DL on May 15 and is scheduled for a second session Wednesday. If he makes it through without a setback, Stauffer will head to Peoria to continue his rehab in the minors. ... Padres OF Cameron Maybin remains day to day because of a sore right wrist but the team is optimistic about his progress. ... Giants OF-1B Aubrey Huff is sidelined with tendonitis in his injured right knee and is "not real close" to returning, Bochy said. ... San Diego RHP Edinson Volquez takes a 6-7 record into Tuesday's game against San Francisco LHP Madison Bumgarner (11-6).