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Loretta ignites Padres' seventh-inning rally

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Dave Roberts gave the San Diego Padres just the
spark they were looking for.

Coming off a dreadful three-game sweep at the hands of the rival
Los Angeles Dodgers, the Padres welcomed Roberts back from the
disabled list and benefited from his hustle in a 7-2 win over the
San Francisco Giants on Monday night.

Roberts beat out an infield single to keep alive a five-run
seventh inning and scored on Mark Loretta's go-ahead, bases-loaded
double with two outs.

Still, Phil Nevin pointed to Roberts' bunt single an inning
earlier, when he slid headfirst into first base.

"Obviously, everyone's going to point to the balls that were
hit that drove in runs tonight, but I go back to that bunt single
by Dave that kind of added some adrenaline to us," Nevin said.

"Just to see him cross first base diving and pumping his fist,
we just haven't had much excitement around here lately."

Roberts was erased by Loretta's grounder in the sixth, but the
Padres managed to tie the game at 1.

Roberts missed the first 12 games with a strained groin.

"It was just a lot of pent-up adrenaline," Roberts said.
"You're out there for the first two weeks of the season being a
cheerleader, and to finally get out there and have an opportunity
to contribute and get my uniform dirty, it's a good feeling.

"To come away with a victory and turn things around, I'm really
excited. We've just got to keep building on it."

Roberts' hustle and Loretta's big hit were precisely what the
Padres lacked for several games. They were embarrassed in a weekend
sweep by the Dodgers, who outscored the Padres 18-3 and threw two
complete-game shutouts.

Loretta's hit down the left-field line in the seventh came off
Brett Tomko (0-3).

"I made a good pitch -- fastball in -- and got beat on it,"
Tomko said. "That's where I wanted the pitch."

With the game tied at 1, Ramon Hernandez started the rally with
a one-out single to right and pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney drew a
two-out walk. Roberts kept the inning alive with a chopper up the
middle that shortstop Omar Vizquel couldn't handle for an infield
single.

"He came up with a big at-bat," Nevin said. "He puts pressure
on a defense. He made Omar come in and force him into a bad hop,
and that kept that inning going."

After Loretta's hit, Brian Giles was intentionally walked before
Nevin hit a two-run double to right-center to make it 6-1 and chase
Tomko.

Tomko took a four-hitter into the seventh. The only run he'd
given up was an RBI groundout by Nevin in the sixth. Tomko allowed
six runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, walked three and struck
out none.

Giants rookie Lance Niekro hit his first career homer, a solo
shot into the second deck in left in the sixth inning off Jake
Peavy (2-0). Niekro, the son of Joe Niekro and nephew of Hall of
Famer Phil Niekro, was called up on April 8 after Moises Alou went
on the disabled list.

Niekro entered Monday's game after first baseman J.T. Snow left
with a strained groin in the fifth. Niekro, who had five major
league at-bats coming into this year, added an RBI double in the
eighth.

Peavy struck out nine and allowed one run on six hits in seven
innings. He walked one.

"He made very few mistakes. It was hard to get a feeling for
what he was trying to do," Vizquel said. "Every time up, he
worked you in a different way. He's pretty smart."

San Diego's Sean Burroughs hit a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Game notes
Roberts took the roster spot of SS Khalil Greene, who broke
his right ring finger on Saturday night against Los Angeles. ...
The Padres' seven runs topped their combined total from their
previous four games, when they scored just six.