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SF@SD: Hundley hits a solo homer to left in the third

SAN DIEGO -- The hits have been hard to come by for the Padres, though their collective .213 batting average after five games should probably come with an asterisk attached to it after the buzzsaw they ran into Wednesday at PETCO Park.

Tim Lincecum, who the Padres have certainly seen a lot of since his Major League debut in 2007, struck out 13 and allowed just one run over seven innings as the Giants bolted to a big lead and held on for an 8-4 victory before 24,368.

"He had all his weapons today," said Padres manager Bud Black.

The Padres, consequently, didn't -- though their struggles offensively have been somewhat overshadowed by the fact they've won three of their first five games and, for the most part, have played solid defense.

As for the hitting? It's not there yet, and the proof can be found up and down the lineup -- several regulars are hitting below .200. Catcher Nick Hundley, who hit a solo home run in the third inning, is hitting .500 and, apparently, can't make an out.

"A lot of things can be magnified early in the year, good and bad," Black said. "It's still a very small sample size of bat-bats.

"We'll keep playing the schedule and guys will get their at-bats."

Those guys, presumably, includes first baseman Brad Hawpe, who got his first hit of the season on Wednesday, a broken-bat single as part of a three-run rally in the ninth inning after going hitless in his first 13 at-bats of the season.

"It looks like he's right on some fastballs. He's taking good rips, just not squaring the ball up," Black said. "Brad's one of those guys that when he gets going, he stays hot."

While the Padres wait for that contagious hitting bug to take hold -- the team has an off-day Thursday before opening a three-game home series against the Dodgers on Friday -- they won't spend much time trying to dissect what went wrong vs. the Giants.

It was all Lincecum, plain and simple.

Even after Hundley's home run into the upper deck in the third inning, Lincecum stayed on task, even joking to his manager after returning to the dugout.

"He came back [to the dugout] and said, 'He got all of that one, didn't he?' It made him focus that much more," said Giants skipper Bruce Bochy.

Lincecum, who now has a 1.80 ERA in eight starts at PETCO Park, eclipsed his mark of 12 strikeouts against the Padres set on Sept. 13, 2008, when he got Ryan Ludwick to chase after a fastball for the second out of the seventh inning.

"His fastball had good life on it today," said Padres leadoff hitter and right fielder Will Venable, who struck out twice. "His splitter is as good as there is."

Better still for Lincecum and the Giants (2-4) was the fact that the offense staked him to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, as Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer (0-1) suffered from a flat slider that proved troublesome.

The Giants reeled off four consecutive one-out hits -- actually hitting for the cycle as a team -- including a two-run home run by Buster Posey on a slider that didn't slide nearly enough.

"I didn't feel sharp overall, and that's tough in the first inning, getting down like that," Stauffer said. "[My slider] was a little bit flat and they weren't having as much bite as I would have hoped."

Stauffer, who got a no-decision on Opening Day in St. Louis, allowed four runs on eight hits with two walks and one strikeout. Black used five relievers to finish the game.

"At times, I feel pretty good. I just haven't put it all together," Stauffer said. "But I'm going to keep working between starts."

"[Lincecum is] always pretty tough. If I had kept it to three, as you saw at the end ... you never know. But they were aggressive and they put the ball in play."

The Padres made things interesting in the ninth inning, forcing Bochy to use three different relievers, including closer Brian Wilson, who came off the disabled list earlier in the day. Wilson started the season on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain.

San Diego got a two-run double by Chase Headley and brought the tying run to the plate in backup catcher Rob Johnson, but he flew out to center fielder Andres Torres to end the game. Comments