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SF@SD: Headley drives in Denorfia with a single

SAN DIEGO -- Luke Gregerson was in trouble the moment he walked the first two batters of the 12th inning with eight consecutive balls.

He was in imminent trouble after he bobbled Eli Whiteside's sacrifice bunt and loaded the bases.

And after holding the runners on base through two consecutive outs, Gregerson (2-3) cracked.

"He had trouble with his release point, just didn't look comfortable once he got into his inning, which is very uncharacteristic of Luke," Padres manager Bud Black said. "He's a guy that thrives in those situations. He doesn't mind the heat. Tonight, just couldn't find that release point."

All told, after getting two outs, he walked in the go-ahead run, gave up a two-run single to Pablo Sandoval and allowed two more RBI singles to Nate Schierholtz and Aubrey Huff.

Just like that, the Giants went up by five runs at PETCO Park. A Will Venable sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 12th inning rounded out the 6-2 final score and gave the Padres their sixth consecutive loss.

And all that was made possible when Huff tied the game in the top of the ninth inning with a solo shot to right field off Heath Bell.

"I had him 0-2, [Huff] fouled off two pitches, I went fastball in, tried to throw a breaking ball in," Bell said. "It was a pretty good pitch, but I think Huff was expecting it or saw it come out of my hand pretty good and he just tattooed it."

Huff's bomb was the first home run Bell had surrendered since April 19, 2010, when then-Giant Juan Uribe hit one against him.

That broke Bell's 99-game, 102-inning streak without a home run surrendered -- the longest in Padres history.

"It's maybe one of those things," Bell said. "I've been going really well. You know, sometimes you've got to be humbled, and personally I like to think runs are humbling, not blown saves. This will just make me work harder and try to be better."

Bell had converted 19 consecutive save opportunities up to that point.

"The guy's so good," Huff said. "He's one of the best in the game. He's not immune to making a mistake. I'm sure he'd want that one back. But I don't feel sorry for him."

The Padres had otherwise pitched lights-out up until the ninth inning. Starting pitcher Aaron Harang threw seven scoreless innings Thursday, and he has pitched well enough in his last 13 innings for two wins. Instead, he has none.

On July 9, his first start since returning from the disabled list, Harang pitched six no-hit innings against the Dodgers. On Thursday, Harang gave up five hits while striking out four.

"Aaron pitched really well," Black said. "He came right back on the heels of his outing on the Dodgers. ... That's a great sign after being off a month like he was."

Harang said the reason he's been able to return with such effectiveness was the throwing he did while he was out with a right foot contusion. Harang wanted to be ready when his foot was finally ready.

Thirteen innings later, he's made good on those goals.

"Fastball felt good, slider had good downward tilt, and I was able to throw my curveball for strikes," Harang said.

"I think if anything, [the injury] gave me more drive and incentive to want to get back and get back to where I was before I got hurt."

And backing up Harang's start was the lone run the Padres scored before extra innings, an RBI single by Chase Headley in the third inning.

Chris Denorfia hit the first of three consecutive two-out singles. Denorfia made it to third on Jason Bartlett's single, and Headley knocked Denorfia in with a ground ball that snuck through the infield to left.

Headley left the game in the seventh inning with a left ankle contusion.

The third baseman hurt his ankle during a plate appearance in the fifth inning when he fouled a ball off his left foot, which caused his ankle to turn and him to roll over on the ground.

"It's more of an ankle roll than just direct contact," Headley said. "I think I kind of stretched the ligament a little bit."

Before long, Headley asked to be taken out of the game.

"I wasn't moving at 100 percent," he said. "With the situation the way it was with a 1-0 game in the eighth inning, we know that if they get somebody on, they're going to bunt ... so [Black] wanted to get a guy in there that was 100 percent."

Black said he expects any potential X-ray to be negative, and Headley said he doesn't anticipate anything other than soreness.

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