SAN FRANCISCO -- Not even getting one of their All-Star pitchers knocked out of the game by a line drive was enough to slow down the San Francisco Giants.
Matt Cain left after throwing only 35 pitches but was bailed out by five San Francisco relievers, who scattered three hits over the final 7 1/3 innings of the Giants' 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
"You don't win a game like that unless your bullpen comes through for you," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "You lose one of your horses in the second inning, that's a big blow for your club. You need your bullpen to step it up and they all did. We needed good pitching from the 'pen and they came through for us."
Justin Miller (2-1), San Francisco's long reliever all season, allowed just one hit over 3 1/3 innings and used his changeup to keep the Padres' hitters off balance.
Brandon Medders, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Brian Wilson completed the seven-hitter for San Francisco. Wilson pitched 1 1/3 innings for his 23rd save in 27 chances.
"The starting staff has taken away innings from us all year in a very positive way so any time we can go out there and try to perform and pick up the team, we're definitely up to the challenge," Miller said. "It's just an amazing staff to be around. We've got Cy Youngs, we've got 300-game winners so it's easy to overlook the bullpen. But I think that's what relievers like also, is just to go out there and do our job quietly and get ready for the next game."
The Giants moved a season-high 11 games over .500 and within six games of the Los Angeles Dodgers for first in the NL West. San Francisco also owns the best home record in the majors with a 31-14 mark.
Pablo Sandoval homered for the second straight day to provide San Francisco with all the offense they needed.
A day after Jonathan Sanchez pitched a no-hitter, the Giants beat the Padres for a third straight game behind Sandoval.
Sandoval hit his 15th homer of the season in the fourth, a two-run shot off San Diego starter Tim Stauffer, who was making his first major league appearance in nearly two years.
Cain, the Giants' All-Star pitcher who entered tied for the second-most wins in the National League, was hit just above his right elbow by Stauffer's line drive with two outs. The ball ricocheted off Cain toward the third-base dugout as the Giants pitcher grimaced in pain while walking around on the field.
Cain then circled back behind the pitcher's mound where he was met by trainer Dave Groeschner, manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti. After a brief conversation, Cain attempted to throw a warmup pitch, but the ball sailed over the head of catcher Eli Whiteside.
That forced Bochy to go to his bullpen, beginning with Miller. The right-hander got Everth Cabrera to ground out to end the second then retired nine of the next 10, getting a double play to end the fourth following Chase Headley's one-out single.
Cabrera hit a one-out double in the eighth off Romo, stole third and scored when Whiteside's throw sailed into left field.
Affeldt replaced Romo and walked Tony Gwynn Jr. before getting Adrian Gonzalez to fly out. Wilson then struck out Kevin Kouzmanoff to escape the jam.
Called up from Triple-A Portland prior to the game, Stauffer (0-1) retired his first 10 batters before Randy Winn blooped a single to left. Sandoval then hit the next pitch into the left field stands to give the Giants a 2-0 lead.
Stauffer allowed only four hits in seven innings and matched his career high with seven strikeouts in his first start since Aug. 26, 2007.
"I felt like I did everything I could," said Stauffer, who missed all of 2008 after shoulder surgery. "I've felt the last 3-4 weeks as good as I've felt in the last five years. I'm able to pitch, let it go without fear of whether I might hurt my shoulder again. All this work is to get here, and hopefully stay here."
Giants 2B Juan Uribe, whose error at 3B wound up giving the San Diego Padres their only baserunner in Sanchez's no-hitter, was originally charged with an error in the fourth on Saturday night before the official scorekeeper later ruled the play a hit. ... To make room for Stauffer, the Padres outrighted INF Craig Stansberry to Triple-A Portland. ... Whiteside made his second straight start while Bengie Molina was with his wife, Jamie, for the birth of the couple's first child.
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