Giants are best in NL West after beating Padres

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Felipe Alou had just finished telling the
story of his new five liter bottle of red wine, a congratulatory
gift from his employers for his 1,000th managerial victory, when
someone reminded him the Giants now lead the NL West.

"Oh man," the San Francisco skipper said with a smile. "Oh,
yeah, it means something. Just a week ago, seven days ago, we were
supposed to be that bad. I don't really worry about it. I left all
my worries behind me now."

Jason Schmidt won for the first time in more than six weeks, and
the Giants took over first place in the division with a 4-3 victory
over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.

Eliezer Alfonzo hit a two-run single, doubled and scored twice,
and Randy Winn added a sacrifice fly as San Francisco moved a
half-game ahead of the Padres and into the division lead for the
first time since April 26 with their season-best fifth straight

The Giants' winning streak is their longest since also getting
five straight victories from Sept. 16-21.

Schmidt (7-6) pitched six solid innings to end a seven-start
winless stretch and three-game losing streak on a night when the
temperature was 85 degrees at first pitch on an unusually warm July
day in the Bay Area.

"This has been a big series for us," Schmidt said. "Winning
three out of four, you couldn't have asked for anything better than

Shea Hillenbrand singled and scored a run in his Giants debut a
night after being acquired from Toronto along with right-hander
Vinnie Chulk in a trade that sent right-hander Jeremy Accardo to
the Blue Jays.

Barry Bonds was back in the lineup after leaving Friday night's
8-2 win following his leadoff single in the third inning. He had
been plunked in the left knee by Jake Peavy in the first.

The slugger went 1-for-3 with a single and an intentional walk,
his 81st walk and 32nd intentional free pass. His left knee held up
for the entire game.

"It's fine," Bonds said. "I can't complain."

Schmidt, the Giants' lone All-Star representative, won for the
first time since beating the Florida Marlins and matching a
franchise record with his 16-strikeout performance June 6. The
right-hander also snapped a three-game losing streak to San Diego,
beating the Padres for the first time in six starts since a 7-5 win
on Sept. 28, 2004. He allowed six hits and three runs, struck out
five and walked five.

Armando Benitez converted his seventh straight save and 13th in
17 chances overall.

Schmidt was boosted by a fine day of defense by the Giants,
including Pedro Feliz's nifty double play in which he tagged Adrian Gonzalez on the way to third, then threw to first to get Khalil Greene. Alfonzo made a great play on a foul popup by Woody Williams
in which the catcher reached around the backstop to catch the ball.

"Defensively, guys have played outstanding," Schmidt said.
"I've been holding my cool pretty well. If I would have given it
up tonight, I would probably have beat my head against the wall."

Hillenbrand singled to left in his first at-bat leading off the
second, three days after being designated for assignment by the
Blue Jays following a clash with management. He started at first
and batted sixth, getting a loud ovation when lineups were
introduced before the game and again when he singled.

Mike Cameron, 1-for-9 in the series coming in, hit a solo home
run in the fifth for the Padres, a shot to left-center for his 13th
of the year. Gonzalez followed with a single to extend his hitting
streak to 13 games.

San Diego lost its fourth straight overall and fifth in a row in
the season series with San Francisco after winning five of the
first six meetings.

"It's going to be a tight race," Padres manager Bruce Bochy
said. "We've got to stop what we're in right now."

Williams (4-2) had his three-game winning streak snapped, a
stretch that began with his victory in San Francisco on May 2. He
had a no-decision against the Giants on July 1 in his first outing
back from the disabled list after missing a month and a half with a
strained left calf.

"I've thrown well the last two games," Williams said. "It
seems like everything snowballs for us, either way. Our defense has
been very good. For this game to end up like it did is kind of
strange. Since the All-Star break, we haven't played like we're
capable. We're confident, but we haven't been consistent."

San Francisco's Moises Alou hit his second single of the game
leading off the fifth but strained his left hamstring running out
the hit and came out of the game. Steve Finley entered to pinch run
and came in to play center field, with Winn moving to Alou's spot
in right.

Alou was to be re-evaluated Sunday and his manager father
expected him to miss a couple of games.

Game notes
The Padres acquired RHP Scott Williamson from the Chicago
Cubs in exchange for Class-A pitchers Fabian Jimenez and Joel
Santo. ... Cameron stole his 15th and 16th bases of the season in
the first. ... San Diego OF Brian Giles missed his second straight
game with a tight right hamstring. ... The Giants sold out for the
15th time, going over the two million mark. ... Schmidt had his
1,000th strikeout as a Giant.