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Hamilton Pitches Padres Past Giants

Joey Hamilton is more than willing to trade a little back pain for a victory.

"I don't know if it helps," said Hamilton, who held San Francisco to four hits in seven innings in the San Diego Padres ' 4-2 victory over the Giants on Saturday night. "But if that's the case, I'll stick with it."

Hamilton (5-7) won his second straight start following a six-game losing streak. He allowed four walks and had one strikeout.

"I threw more offspeed stuff," he said. "Normally, I'm aggressive with my fastball. I threw a little backward this time. To do that and be effective is a boost, but it's not something that I'll do every time."

The Padres have won six straight to open a two-game lead in the NL West over the Giants, who have dropped three straight following an 11-game winning streak.

"You try to take every series that you can," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "Sure, it's nice to take a couple here. But we have a lot of baseball left."

Roberto Ramirez and Dan Miceli combined to pitch a scoreless eighth, and Trevor Hoffman got the final three outs for his 19th save and 27th straight.

Carlos Hernandez broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run, two-out single in the third. He had one hit in his previous 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"In a tight series like this, usually the team that gets the clutch two-out hits is going to win," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "They got those clutch, two-out hits. ... We've lost two tough games. Now we've got to get the game Sunday and get out of here."

The Padres opened the scoring in the first on Wally Joyner's two-out, two-run double off Mark Gardner (5-3).

Gardner allowed four runs and six hits in six innings. He has given up 21 earned runs in the opening inning in seven of his 14 starts this season.

San Francisco's Rich Aurilia had a two-out RBI single in the second following two consecutive walks, and the Giants tied it in the third on Charlie Hayes' RBI groundout.

With a crowd of 54,390 on hand for San Diego's second straight, the Padres improved to 6-0 this season before home crowds of at least 50,000.

Notes: San Diego outfielder Tony Gwynn was not in the starting lineup for the fourth straight game since leaving Monday's game because of a strained left calf. Gwynn, who hit a sacrifice fly as a pinch hitter Friday, said he didn't feel comfortable running before Saturday's game, but that he might be ready to start Sunday. ... With Jeff Kent on the disabled list because of a sprained right knee, the Giants' Bill Mueller started at second base for first time since Sept. 28, 1996. ... The Padres have already sold enough tickets for Sunday's game to set an attendance record for a three-game series. Their previous mark was 144,25from May 10-12, 1985, for a series with the Chicago Cubs. By Saturday night, there were 150,025 tickets purchased for the current series. ... San Francisco's Barry Bonds walked in the fifth to extend his streak to 37 games reaching base.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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