Hard-luck Padres fall to Lincecum, Giants

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Diego Padres can only go up from here.

The slumping Padres wasted another fine pitching effort, this one by Chris Young, and lost 1-0 to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night to tumble into last place in the NL West.

Rich Aurilia homered off Young in the seventh inning to keep Tim Lincecum perfect this season. The Padres combined to four-hit the Giants, but again came out on the short end of a low-scoring game at spacious Petco Park.

The Padres have scored five runs in 53 innings in their last four home games, including a 3-2, 13-inning loss to San Francisco on Wednesday night, and a 2-1, 22-inning loss to Colorado on April 17.

"We're struggling to get that key hit," manager Bud Black said. "That's going to come. It's going to come."

The Padres have lost eight of nine to fall 7 1/2 games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, who come in Friday for the first of a three-game series.

Young (1-2) allowed two hits in seven innings while striking out 10.

"Right now things are magnified because they're not going our way, but there will be a point where things will turn," Young said.

The hard-throwing Lincecum (4-0) extended his scoreless streak to 16 1/3 innings and lowered his ERA to 1.23. He allowed four hits in 6 1/3 innings, struck out nine and walked five. Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.

"I struggled a little bit with my control," Lincecum said. "It's still nice to pull out a win when you're off."

The Padres loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning against Lincecum and reliever Jack Taschner but failed to score after pinch-hitter Scott Hairston hit a pop foul and Adrian Gonzalez grounded out. The Padres stranded 11 runners.

"He's got great stuff," Gonzalez said of Lincecum. "He's got a great fastball and he mixes in a changeup well. You can't really look changeup with him because he throws 100. The changeup at times looks just like a fastball out of his hands.

"Until the day he breaks down and he gets back to Earth and throws 92, he's going to be tough," Gonzalez added.

"He's for real," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I enjoy watching him. He's one of those guys you'd pay to watch pitch. He's got tremendous stuff. He's a tremendous competitor to go with it. He's got a chance to be special."

Aurilia homered to left field on a full-count pitch with one out in the seventh, his first of the season.

"I'm glad I hit it because Timmy was pitching his butt off," said Aurilia, who's batting .197 with five RBIs.

"Everything gets magnified early in the season when you don't have the numbers," he said. "I've been through this before."

Said Lincecum: "I love it that he hit it. It lifted him up, lifted the team up. It couldn't have come at a better time for us."

The 6-foot-10 Young retired the first 10 batters before Eugenio Velez doubled down the right-field line in the fourth. Young walked three.

It was the second time in five meetings this season the Giants beat the Padres 1-0.

Game notes
San Diego's Greg Maddux made his 10th career pinch-running appearance, coming in after pinch-hitter Tony Clark singled with one out in the seventh. Maddux's last pinch-running appearance was Aug. 5 against San Francisco. ... Padres C Michael Barrett, on the DL with a sprained right elbow, can swing a bat and catch in the bullpen but won't be cleared to throw for another seven to 10 days, Black said. ... Friday night's series opener between Arizona and the Padres features a rematch of the lefty starters from last Sunday, when San Diego's Randy Wolf beat Randy Johnson 9-4 in Phoenix.