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Crawford's single lifts Giants past Padres 3-1

By Michael Wagaman, Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 27, 2014 at 6:21 p.m.



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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Eric Stults finished the season the way he wanted to, even if the San Diego Padres failed to back the left-hander with enough run support.

The results were painfully familiar.

Stults allowed one run and six hits in seven innings but San Diego managed only five hits in a 3-1 loss to the playoff-bound San Francisco Giants on Saturday.

"Since the All-Star break, he's pitched very well," Padres manager Bud Black said. "This game was a microcosm of his season. I think he might be last in the league in run support."

Black was close.

Stults has received an average of 2.98 runs of support, the second-lowest mark in the majors among qualifying pitchers, according to STATS, ahead of only Miami's Nathan Eovaldi (2.80). San Diego scored one run or fewer in 19 of Stults' 32 starts this season, getting shut out eight times.

"We've pitched well and we've had some games where our offense won us some ballgames," Stults said. "The mindset is to not worry about how many runs am I going to get out there but how many runs am I going to keep off the board for our team."

Brandon Crawford hit a two-run single off Dale Thayer with two outs in the eighth inning to lift the Giants to just their third win in nine games.

San Francisco (87-74) already has clinched a playoff berth and will play at Pittsburgh or St. Louis in the one-game, wild-card playoff on Wednesday. The winner advances to face Washington in a best-of-five division series.

Crawford, one of just two Giants regulars in the starting lineup, was hitless in three at-bats until his broken-bat single to left off Thayer (4-5) broke a 1-all tie, driving in Matt Duffy and Brandon Belt.

San Diego had walked Andrew Susac to load the bases, and Thayer struck out pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval before Crawford's hit.

"We needed it today," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been swinging the bat as well as anybody. He came through for us."

Hunter Strickland (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for his first decision in nine big league appearances. Santiago Casilla worked a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 23 chances.

Bochy went with a patchwork batting order, keeping Sandoval, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence out of the starting lineup.

It was the first game Pence had not started in more than two years, ending the longest consecutive starting streak in the majors at 331 games. The 2014 All-Star outfielder flew out to left as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, extending the majors' longest active streak for consecutive games played to 382.

A 92-game winner with San Diego, Jake Peavy faced his former team for the first time and allowed one run and four hits over five innings. Peavy likely would start the opener against Washington if the Giants get that far.

JUMPING AHEAD

Giants leadoff hitter Gary Brown drew cheers from the crowd at AT&T Park when he legged out an infield grounder then stumbled over the first base bag for his first major league hit. That the play was ruled a hit wasn't surprising, even though 3B Yangervis Solarte's throw skipped past 1B Jake Goebbert. Before the official scorer made a ruling, however, the scoreboard operator declared it a hit.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Giants: RHP Matt Cain had surgery Saturday to remove bone spurs in his right ankle. The three-time All-Star is recovering from season-ending surgery on Aug. 11 to remove bone chips in his right elbow. ... The MRI on Posey's back was negative.

UP NEXT

Padres LHP Robbie Erlin (4-4) has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his last six starts, spaced out over two stints with the big league club. Giants rookie RHP Chris Heston (0-0) is to make his first big league start in the regular-season finale.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Michael Wagaman

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