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Padres extend lead over Giants to six games

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Sean Burroughs of all people came up with
what his teammates consider the hit of San Diego's season.

The first-place Padres were staring at a three-game sweep and a
five-game skid when Burroughs pinch hit and stepped in Wednesday
against one of the game's most imposing closers. He changed
everything.

And this is the guy who got sent down this summer because he
couldn't make contact.

With two strikes against him, Burroughs hit a tying two-out,
two-run double off Armando Benitez in the ninth inning and Brian
Giles lined a tiebreaking single with two outs in the 10th, helping
San Diego stop a four-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over
the San Francisco Giants.

"That's a proud moment," said Burroughs, demoted to Triple-A
Portland on July 23 for 5½ weeks to rediscover his batting groove.
"If it's the hit of the year, I'm fortunate to be behind it. I'm
speechless."

The Padres (72-73) rallied to avoid what could have been a
costly three-game sweep and extended their lead over San Francisco
to six games in the weak NL West -- which could produce the first
division winner in major league history with a losing record.

Rudy Seanez (7-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory, and
Trevor Hoffman got his 35th straight save and 38th in 40 chances
overall as the Padres won despite stranding 15 runners.

San Diego also got a huge effort from Ramon Hernandez, who
batted third and had his first four-hit game of the year.

"It would have been devastating, really," center fielder Dave
Roberts said, reflecting on what could have been. "For us to find
a way to come up with a team victory ... it's the biggest win of
our year, no doubt about it."

Pedro Feliz hit a go-ahead, two-run double with two outs in the
eighth inning for the Giants, but Burroughs followed with an even
bigger hit.

Then in the 10th, Giles singled against LaTroy Hawkins (2-7) for
his third hit of the game and second RBI.

Barry Bonds entered as a pinch-hitter against Akinori Otsuka
with two runners aboard in the eighth, borrowing Feliz's bat after
breaking his own on a foul ball, then sat down after a called third
strike he clearly disagreed with.

"The pitch he struck out on was low," manager Felipe Alou
said. "Nobody was going to hit that pitch. Some umpires need to
learn the strike zone, too."

It was Feliz who made the Padres pay, lining a double to center
moments later. But Benitez couldn't hold the lead and wound up with
his fourth blown save in an injury-shortened season.

With Bonds taking most of the day off to rest, Randy Winn
splashed a Bonds-like homer into McCovey Cove.

Winn sent a 1-1 pitch from Woody Williams into the water beyond
the right-field arcade to tie the game at 1 in the third. Winn hit
his eighth homer since joining the Giants in a July 30 trade with
Seattle and his 14th overall this season to match his career high.

He is the seventh Giants player to launch a splash hit -- Bonds
has 31 of the club's 39. Michael Tucker also did it this year for
San Francisco, with a grand slam April 9 against Colorado.

Winn's shot was the only offense the Giants could muster against
Williams, who was on the way to his third straight victory before
the bullpen blew it. He allowed five hits, struck out three and
walked two in 5 1/3 innings.

San Diego's disappointing play recently prompted manager Bruce
Bochy to call a team meeting before Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the
Giants, who won the series opener 4-3 Monday. The Padres are off
Thursday before a three-game series with Washington at home.

"It's a tough one to lose ... especially with what we could
have accomplished," Giants lefty Scott Eyre said.

Matt Cain threw six strong innings for San Francisco, but his
pitch count went up in a hurry due to six walks. He allowed two
runs and three hits in a 107-pitch outing.

Last Friday, the 20-year-old right-hander became the youngest
Giants pitcher to throw a complete game since 1960 when he two-hit
the Cubs in a 2-1 win.

Bonds opted to rest -- often his practice for day games that
follow night games -- after playing the previous two days for his
first games of the year after recovering from three operations on
his right knee since Jan. 31. The slugger is expected to start
Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series with the Los
Angeles Dodgers at SBC Park.

Ray Durham batted cleanup for the first time in 1,542 career
starts, going 0-for-3 with two walks.

Game notes
Padres SS Khalil Greene, still recovering from a broken big
toe, didn't start but pinch-hit in the ninth and stayed in for
defense. ... There was a one-hour delay for fans entering the
ballpark because of a ticket system glitch that affected ticket
scanners and sales. ... Padres Hall of Fame broadcaster Jerry
Coleman, a Bay Area native, celebrated his 81st birthday. ... The
Giants purchased the contract of OF Doug Clark from Triple-A Fresno
and designated INF Brian Dallimore for assignment.