Pill hit a two-run homer in his first big league at-bat, Surkamp earned his first major league win and the Giants had to escape a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning to beat the San Diego Padres 6-4 on Tuesday night.
The defending World Series champion Giants pulled within six games of NL West-leading Arizona with 20 to go. The Diamondbacks lost 8-3 at Colorado. By winning the first two of this three-game set, the Giants clinched their first series victory since Aug. 12-14 at Florida.
With Mark DeRosa aboard on a leadoff single in the second, Pill hit an 0-1 pitch from lefty Wade LeBlanc (2-5) that caromed off the balcony of the third level of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse in the left-field corner at Petco Park and back onto the field. Padres left fielder Kyle Blanks tossed it into the stands, where a man grabbed it. Padres event operations supervisor Rob Arnold negotiated with the fan to get the ball for Pill.
"Luckily he threw it right to some Giants fans," said Pill, who gave the fan a few signed balls in return for the home run ball.
"It's something you dream about when you're a kid," Pill said. "I've seen him a few times in the minors, that pitcher, and figured he'd try to throw me a changeup and get me to hit into a double play. He left it up a little bit. When I hit it I kind of knew it was gone, but it was probably the fastest I've ran around the bases in a while. It's just a great feeling."
It was the first time a Giants player homered in his first big league plate appearance since Will Clark did so off Houston's Nolan Ryan on April 8, 1986.
Surkamp (1-0) allowed three runs and five hits in five innings, struck out two and walked one.
"It's fun," Surkamp said. "I'm up here, I'm new, it's awesome."
Said manager Bruce Bochy: "Nice day for those two young players. It's historic, to hit a home run in your first at-bat. It's nice to see those guys come out and do what they did and help us win a ballgame."
With the Giants leading 6-3, Javier Lopez walked Orlando Hudson on four pitches to open the Padres' ninth. Santiago Casilla came on and got two outs before allowing rookie Anthony Rizzo's RBI double off the right-field wall. Casilla hit Cameron Maybin on the right elbow and hit Jason Bartlett on the left hand to load the bases. Bochy turned to Ramon Ramirez, the sixth Giants' reliever, who struck out Jesus Guzman for his fourth save in five chances.
Carlos Beltran had three hits and three RBIs for the Giants, who won with three prospects in their starting lineup. Pill's contract was purchased last Wednesday from Triple-A Fresno. Surkamp, called up from Double-A Richmond on Aug. 27, made his second big league start. Justin Christian started in center field and batted leadoff after his contract was purchased from Fresno on Tuesday. Christian appeared in 24 games with the New York Yankees in 2008.
Pill, who led the Pacific Coast League with 167 hits, started at first base.
Beltran, back after missing Monday's game with food poisoning, hit an RBI single in the third, an RBI double in the fifth and brought in a run with a grounder in the ninth.
San Diego's Nick Hundley hit a solo homer off Surkamp leading off the second. Rookie Andy Parrino got his first big league RBI on a sacrifice fly later that inning, and Kyle Blanks hit a sacrifice fly in the third.
LeBlanc allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings, struck out one and walked none.
"Wade got some balls up in the strike zone. He just couldn't get the ball down consistently," manager Bud Black said. "They got the bat head on balls just in front of the plate. Had some hard-hit balls to the left side. Wade wiggled out of some jams, so give him credit for that."
Injured Giants LHP Barry Zito threw a four-inning simulated game. "We'll see how he comes out of this and see if we need him for relief," Bochy said. ... The Padres recalled RHP Erik Hamren from Triple-A Tucson. RHP Pat Neshek was outrighted to Tucson today. He was designated for assignment on Sept. 1 when the club claimed RHP Jeff Fulchino. ... Padres RF Chris Denorfia, who came off the DL on Monday, was hit in the head as he dove back into second base on a pickoff attempt in the second. He got up and took third before scoring on Parrino's sac fly. Will Venable pinch-hit for Denorfia in the fifth and stayed in the game in RF. ... The series concludes Wednesday afternoon when Giants RHP Matt Cain (11-9, 2.85 ERA) opposes Padres RHP Aaron Harang (12-5, 3.86). Cain is winless in three starts against San Diego this season, going 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA. Harang has gone 1-2 in his last three starts despite allowing only five earned runs.