SAN FRANCISCO -- Carlos Beltran was finally healthy enough to give the home fans a reason to cheer.
Beltran shook of the pain around his right wrist to hit his first home run since being traded to San Francisco, powering the Giants past the San Diego Padres 2-1 on Wednesday night.The switch-hitting right fielder wasn't even sure he could hit lefty before the game. He applied a heat pack to his wrist between innings as the thick summer fog rolled under the lights in the ballpark along the bay, and it was just enough to ease the pain."We decided to give it a try," Beltran said. "And good things happened."Beltran returned to the starting lineup for the first time in more than two weeks, sending a change-up from Tim Stauffer (8-10) over the wall in right field in the fourth for his 16th home run of the season. The solo shot was the first of his career at AT&T Park.Tim Lincecum (12-10) struck out seven and walked five in eight innings, pitching out of the stretch again the entire game. He gave up three hits and also had the go-ahead RBI single.Santiago Casilla pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the season in place of injured closer Brian Wilson. Lincecum finished with 124 pitches."Guys were making double plays and playing great defense every time I'd walk a guy or something," Lincecum said. "Everything was just timely."The biggest and best news for the Giants, however, was the rapid return of its once splashy signing.Beltran, acquired in a July 28 trade with the New York Mets, strained his hand and wrist swinging against Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt on Aug. 7. He was activated from the disabled list Tuesday and popped out in his lone pinch-hit appearance.Beltran was back to batting third in the lineup in the finale as San Francisco split a quick two-game set against San Diego. He singled and finished 2 for 4.Nothing delighted the home fans more than giving Beltran a standing ovation after his fourth-inning shot put San Francisco ahead 1-0. Giants fans are hoping Beltran can awaken a slumping offense and help the defending World Series champions get back to the playoffs."I think it gives us a lot of confidence that he's healthy and he's going to step up," said short stop Orlando Cabrera. "Hopefully, he can carry us the rest of the season and put up big numbers."If nothing else, they hope it's a sign of good things to come after weeks of little support.Rookie Brandon Belt led off the fifth with his first career triple. Two batters later, Lincecum hit a chopper over the first baseman to give the Giants a 2-0 lead.After Cameron Maybin singled to start the sixth for the Padres, Beltran again found himself at the center of another big play. He dove for a ball near the right corner and missed, allowing Orlando Hudson to slide in for a triple and San Diego to slice the deficit to 2-1."The dude is a two-time Cy Young Award winner," Hudson said. "He ain't no punk on the mound."The Padres never could mount anything else offensively.The Giants avoided having to face closer Heath Bell, who they claimed off waivers. San Diego has 48 hours from the time Bell was claimed to decide whether to work out a trade with San Francisco, allow him to be claimed or pull him back from waivers.
Home run king Barry Bonds was sitting with his son in box seats near the Giants dugout. He snagged a foul ball in the eighth inning. ... U.S. women's soccer team members Abby Wabash and Megan Rapinoe were in attendance. Both were wearing Panda hats, which Giants fans often wear in support of 3B Pablo Sandoval. ... The Padres optioned RHP Pat Neshek to Triple-A Tucson. ... RHP Ryan Vogelsong (10-3, 2.47 ERA) starts for the Giants against Houston's RHP Henry Sosa (0-2, 6.35 ERA) in the opener of a four-game series Thursday. ... San Diego is off Thursday and begins a three-game series at Arizona on Friday.
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