Fans cheer and San Francisco Giants players run out of the dugout as Brandon Belt, center, rounds third base to score the winning run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Francisco, Monday, May 23, 2016. The Giant
Jeff Chiu
May 24, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Hunter Pence shook off the nagging pain in his tender right hamstring long enough to hit a fly ball to short right field that even some of his Giants teammates thought would be caught.

With San Diego's Matt Kemp playing deep to prevent extra bases, they were wrong.

Brandon Belt scored from first base when Pence's pinch-hit blooper fell between a pair of Padres players for a double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning that gave San Francisco a 1-0 victory Monday night.

''That definitely was a bloop, well-placed hit for the time,'' said Pence, who cut short his batting practice before the game because of the pain in his hamstring. ''I haven't had too many of those this year. Found a way to wiggle in there and fortunately got Belt in.''

Johnny Cueto (7-1) allowed two hits in his third complete-game win over San Diego this season. The right-hander struck out six and didn't walk a batter while becoming the first San Francisco pitcher since Jason Schmidt in 2004 to win seven times in his first 10 starts.

Cueto appeared headed for a no-decision before Pence's game-ending hit.

Belt led off the ninth with a single against Brad Hand (1-1). Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco struck out swinging before Pence lofted a shallow fly. The ball dropped between Kemp and second baseman Alexi Amarista as they chased in vain.

''The ball should have been caught,'' Kemp said. ''That's my ball. It was easier for me coming in. It was in the air too long. That's my fault.''

The Giants improved to 7-0 against the Padres this season.

Cueto was dominant the entire night and didn't allow a baserunner until Kemp's two-out single in the fourth. He retired the next 12 batters and struck out pinch-hitter Yangervis Solarte with runners at the corners to end the eighth.

After the Giants stranded two in the eighth, Cueto retired the side in order in the ninth before his teammates won it in the bottom of the inning.

''He deserved it,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. ''He's got great savvy out there with great stuff. He's one of those guys who can turn it up a notch out there when he needs to.''

The Padres, coming off a 17-inning loss to the Dodgers that took nearly 6 hours to complete, lost their second straight despite a solid outing from starter Drew Pomeranz.

Pomeranz took a 1.96 ERA into the game and allowed two hits over seven innings but left with his first no-decision of the year. The left-hander, who has lost twice to the Giants this season, had four strikeouts and four walks.


Belt has started 44 games at first base this season but was moved to left field in the top of the ninth when Angel Pagan aggravated a hamstring injury. It was the first time since 2015 that Belt played the outfield, which is why he had to scramble and borrow a glove from reliever Javier Lopez. ''That's my go-to,'' Belt said. ''Most years I've had an outfield glove because I've been out there a little more. This year I really haven't anticipated it, but obviously you never know. I just hollered down at Javy and he went up (to the clubhouse) and got it.''


Padres: LHP Keith Hessler was called up from Triple-A El Paso before the game. Hessler was claimed off waivers from Arizona on May 10. ... RHP Colin Rea was optioned to El Paso.

Giants: An MRI revealed that Pence has a mild hamstring injury. ... RHP Sergio Romo (flexor strain) began a rehab stint in the minors. If all goes well, the plan is for Romo to rejoin the Giants for a four-game series in Atlanta beginning May 30.


Padres: RHP Andrew Cashner (2-3) is expected to come off the disabled list to start Tuesday after recovering from a right hamstring strain.

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (6-2) goes after his third win against San Diego this season. Samardzija's 2.66 ERA is the second-lowest among San Francisco starters.

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