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Padres have 52 hits in series

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The San Diego Padres knew in spring
training they had an improved lineup.

But they couldn't have envisioned things being this much better
-- they pounded 52 hits in four games at San Francisco.

Phil Nevin hit a two-run homer and the Padres had another big
offensive outing to defeat the Giants 9-4 Thursday.

"For our confidence, it means a lot," Nevin said. "I still
think that's the team to beat in our division."

Ismael Valdez (2-0) pitched 5 2-3 strong innings on a day
slugger Barry Bonds was held out of the lineup to rest.

San Diego took three out of four from the Giants in a ballpark
where the Padres have traditionally had problems. They did it by
getting 12 hits Thursday, a season-high 17 on Wednesday, 15 on
Tuesday and eight on Monday.

The Giants are 14-3-3 in season series against San Diego since
the start of the 2001 season. The Padres had not won a four-game
series at San Francisco in nearly six years.

The Padres have already equaled their win total against the
Giants from last season -- San Diego went 5-14 vs. San Francisco in
2003 and is off to a 5-2 start against the Giants this year.

"Every year's a different year," Padres manager Bruce Bochy
said. "Since this ballpark's been here we've had a very difficult
time here. It's nice to see us play well here, which we did this
series."

The Padres outscored the Giants 29-9.

After allowing two runs in the first inning, Valdez cruised
until giving up a two-run triple to Neifi Perez in the sixth that
chased the right-hander. Valdez gave up two earned runs on six
hits, struck out one and walked two.

"I have to be honest with you, these guys are putting up great
numbers offensively," Valdez said. "I made my pitches. I was
hitting the strike zone and getting ahead in the count. I'm really
happy with the results."

Brian Buchanan had two hits and two RBI, Miguel Ojeda had two
hits and drove in a run and Khalil Greene had a two-run double and
singled for the Padres.

Kirk Rueter (0-2) got a 1-2-3 first inning before the Padres
scored six times in the second. Three of the runs were unearned
after second baseman Ray Durham dropped a flip from Perez at
shortstop.

"It wasn't a difficult play at all," Perez said. "After I
threw the ball I didn't see what happened. It's baseball. We hit a
lot of balls hard and there were double plays, and a lot of their
balls fell. There's no excuses."

Greene's double highlighted the inning. Sean Burroughs and Ojeda
also singled in runs.

The Giants lost 11-0 Wednesday with ace Jason Schmidt on the
mound. The team that won 100 games and the NL West last season has
lost seven of eight.

"We didn't make that one play," manager Felipe Alou said of
Durham's drop. "It could have been a turning point, we don't know.
A funk is a funk and right now we are in a funk. We have to fight
our way out of it, and when I mean fight I mean through hitting,
pitching and defense."

Bonds, the six-time NL MVP, got a much-needed day off. He is
expected to play all three weekend games in Los Angeles against the
Dodgers.

"He is really tired," Alou said. "You can see it in the
outfield. He's been busy."

That's for sure.

On Wednesday, Bonds' home run streak ended at seven straight
games, leaving him one shy of tying the major league mark shared by
Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993).
Bonds asked to be taken out in the eighth inning.

On Thursday, the Giants went up 2-0 in the first on Durham's
solo homer, his first of the season and 26th career leadoff home
run, and an RBI single by Jeffrey Hammonds.

Giants lefty reliever Scott Eyre made his first appearance of
the season in the eighth after being activated following
Wednesday's game from the disabled list. He had a lower back
strain.

Game notes
The Giants grounded into their major-league leading 24th
double play. ... Rueter hit a two-out double in the third for his
first extra-base hit since Aug. 31, 2000, at Pittsburgh. ... The
Giants are in last place in the division for the first time since
June 12, 2001, when they trailed Arizona by six games. ... San
Diego's last four-game series win at San Francisco was June 18-21,
1998. ... Giants CF Marquis Grissom also got the day off, and so
did Padres RF Brian Giles.