SAN DIEGO -- One hit was enough for the San Diego Padres.
Chase Headley had San Diego's only hit, a fourth-inning single off Jonathan Sanchez that led to the game's only run, and the Padres beat San Francisco 1-0 Tuesday night behind outstanding efforts from starter Mat Latos and relievers Mike Adams and Heath Bell.
San Diego pulled even with the Giants atop the NL West, the first time the Padres have been in first place since April 18, 2009. They won their fifth straight game while the Giants lost their third straight one-run game.
"Yeah, the Pads are exciting. We can do it with one hit," Bell said. "Imagine what we can do with 10 hits."
It was the second time in franchise history the Padres won while getting just one hit. The other time was against the Chicago Cubs on July 19, 1975.
"Hey, we'll take it," Latos said. "A win's a win. That's all you need. We get a guy over and we score a run. It's 1-0, we pitch a shutout and have a chance to win."
It was the first time San Francisco lost while holding an opponent to one hit.
"Not a typical win, but it's just as valuable as scoring 17," Headley said, referring to San Diego's home-opening, 17-2 win against Atlanta on April 12.
"I haven't been in a game like this -- one hit and you come away with a loss," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "To have that many opportunities, it's tough to do.
"They are very upset," Bochy said of his players. "There's no way we should have lost tonight's game."
Latos (1-1) and Sanchez (1-1) both went seven innings and retired their final 12 batters. Sanchez, who no-hit the Padres on July 10 in San Francisco, struck out 10 while allowing one run. He gave up only Headley's single and walked three.
Sanchez said his stuff was "kind of the same" as when he no-hit the Padres.
"I'm throwing any pitch in any count," he said. "Before it used to be fastball 90 percent of the game. Now, it's more balanced.
"You are going to have these days when you are going to lose 1-0," Sanchez said.
Adams and Bell got themselves into jams and then deftly got themselves out of them.
Adams relieved Latos to open the eighth and allowed Nate Schierholtz's triple to left-center on his second pitch. But Adams retired Eli Whiteside on a grounder to third, got pinch-hitter Bengie Molina to pop up and struck out Eugenio Velez.
Adams let out a yell after the third out.
"The stress level picked up and everything kind of got tight in a hurry," Adams said. "But with that last strike, that was probably the most excited I've ever been on the mound. When the third out was made, that was fun."
As for winning with one hit, he said: "Sometimes you've got to do it."
"That was probably as difficult a position as you can get in," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Man on third, no outs after you just gave up a ball in the gap, but he made pitches."
Bell pitched the ninth for his fourth save in five chances. Pablo Sandoval walked and went to third on Aubrey Huff's single to center with one out before being stranded on Juan Uribe's fly to right and John Bowker's strikeout to end the game.
Latos had lost five straight decisions dating to Aug. 14. He got off to a shaky start, walking Velez on four straight pitches, then throwing two more balls to Edgar Renteria. Latos got Renteria to hit into a double play to help get out of that inning, pitched a 1-2-3 third, then allowed Whiteside's ground-rule double leading off the third. Latos fielded Sanchez's bunt and threw out Whiteside at third.
With a runner on third, Padres second baseman David Eckstein made a diving catch of Bowker's line drive to end the fourth.
Headley stole a career-high three bases for San Diego, giving him five in two nights.
He singled leading off the fourth, stole second, advanced on Kyle Blanks' foul pop that Huff caught as he went tumbling into the first-base photo well, and scored on Scott Hairston's sacrifice fly to right.
Sanchez had an interesting second -- a walk, strikeout, walk, strikeout, then an intentional walk to Everth Cabrera to bring up Latos, who struck out.
"The kid pitched his heart out," Bochy said. "To do that is quite an effort by him. It's a tough loss to take."
It was the second consecutive impressive start for Sanchez. He held Pittsburgh to three hits in eight shutout innings while striking out 11 in a 6-0 win last Wednesday.
It was NFL QB night at the ballyard: Philip Rivers of the Chargers sat in the second row behind home plate with two of his daughters, and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers sat in a nearby section. Rodgers lives in nearby Del Mar in the offseason. ... The last Padres player to steal three bases in a game was Dave Roberts on May 8, 2006, against the Chicago Cubs.