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SF@SD: Denorfia puts Padres in front on RBI single

SAN DIEGO -- The euphoria from collecting his first Major League hit and RBI in one fell swoop Tuesday wore off far faster than Padres rookie pitcher Robbie Erlin would have liked.

Mere minutes after his historic hit, Erlin was out of the game against the Giants, after allowing a run on three hits in the sixth inning, as Padres manager Bud Black went to his bullpen for reliever Tim Stauffer with two on and one out.

"I kind of left him in a tough spot there," Erlin said.

Luckily for Erlin and the Padres, Stauffer and the rest of the bullpen were able to finish off the Giants, as the Padres pushed ahead late for a 3-2 victory at Petco Park.

Stauffer, Luke Gregerson and closer Huston Street combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings as the Padres (62-76) topped the Giants (61-77) for the second time in as many games.

Erlin, who allowed two runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings with two walks and five strikeouts, showed a lot of the same encouraging signs he did his last time out against the D-backs, as he kept his fastball down, elevating it on occasion, and mixing in his curveball.

"It felt good. I tried to keep the fastball down and work both sides of the plate," Erlin said. "The defense was huge all night."

Erlin's bat wasn't so bad, either.

The Padres scored twice in the fifth inning off Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner, as Kyle Blanks had a double with two outs. One batter later, Nick Hundley doubled off the wall in center field for a 1-0 lead. After intentionally walking Ronny Cedeno, the No. 8 hitter, Bumgarner allowed a soft single into center field to Erlin, which gave Hundley time to score for a 2-0 lead.

"It was what we wanted to do. He swung and missed the at-bat before, so that's just the way the ball falls sometimes," said Bumgarner, who allowed two runs on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in six innings.

But Erlin allowed three of the first four batters he faced to reach base to start the sixth inning and Stauffer came in. Stauffer allowed an inherited runner to score but was sharp thereafter.

In the seventh inning, the Giants' Angel Pagan tripled to start the inning, but Stauffer got the next three hitters out to preserve the lead.

"We made pitches," Black said. "For most of the year, we've been off the mark with runners in scoring position. I do think there should be a heightened awareness in pitch selection there."

After the game, Black noted that Erlin was a .575 hitter during his senior year at Scotts Valley High, just outside Santa Cruz. When asked about his hitting prowess, Erlin blushed.

"It was exciting," he said. "I was happy to get it, even if it was a broken-bat single."

From there, the Padres held on until the seventh inning when Hundley walked and Cedeno sent him to third base with a single to right field. Left-handed pitcher Javier Lopez entered the game and got Mark Kotsay to pop out to shortstop for the first out.

That brought up Chris Denorfia, who entered the game a career .309 hitter facing left-handed pitchers. Lopez got ahead with two quick strikes, then Denorfia fouled off two pitches before getting something that he could handle, a fastball that he turned on, lining it into left field for a 3-2 lead.

"Anytime you get in there with a sidearm lefty, it's tough. I can't even remember the last time I faced him," Denorfia said. "I didn't see the ball well, but after that I had to battle, choke up and I did what I could to get the ball to the outfield."

The Giants threatened in the top of the eighth inning as Joaquin Arias and pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco reached on two-out singles against Gregerson. But Gregerson got another pinch-hitter, Roger Kieschnick, on a slider for a strikeout to end the inning.

Then in the ninth inning, Street got two quick outs before allowing a double to Brandon Belt. But he got Hector Sanchez on a comebacker to end the game, earning his 27th save of the season.

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