SAN DIEGO — Eric Stults pitched seven strong innings to win for the first time in nearly two months and Alexi Amarista homered to lead the San Diego Padres to a 2-0 win over the San Francisco Giants on Friday.
Stults (3-11), winless in his last nine starts, was victorious for the first time since a 9-3 victory over Miami on May 10. The lefty held the Giants to four hits with six strikeouts and two walks as he snapped a six-start losing streak.
The Padres won their season-high fifth straight game as they faced the Giants for the first time since they were no-hit by Tim Lincecum on June 25 in San Francisco. Lincecum is scheduled to start on Sunday.
Although Stults had lost eight of his nine starts during his winless streak, he had pitched well in his last two. He continued that trend against San Francisco as he allowed just one runner to reach third base. Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect eight inning and Huston Street got the final three outs for his 23rd save in as many chances to secure the four-hitter.
It was San Diego’s second straight shutout following Tyson Ross’ three-hit gem in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Cincinnati, and its third in four games.
San Francisco continued to freefall with its 18th loss in 23 games. The Giants’ 5-18 record since June 9 is the worst in the majors as they have fallen out of first place in the NL West.
It was the third time in five games the Giants have been shutout.
Matt Cain (1-7) pitched well but had little to show for it as he lost his fourth consecutive decision and is winless in seven starts. He allowed two runs on seven hits in 6 1-3 innings. Cain struck out six to become the fourth San Francisco pitcher to reach the 1,500-strikeout mark.
Amarista led off the third inning with his second homer that barely cleared the right-field fence. Seth Smith doubled with one out and scored on Chase Headley’s single for a 2-0 lead. Headley went 4 for 4.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was 0 for 4 in his return to the Giants lineup after missing 50 games with a broken thumb.
Notes: The last time the Padres won five straight was last season when they had a seven-game streak in June. ... The Giants have scored two or fewer runs in eight of their last 11 games. ... Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Lincecum are the other San Francisco pitchers with 1,500 strikeouts. Cain is the eighth pitcher in Giants franchise to reach the mark . ... Giants RHP Tim Hudson (7-5, 2.59 ERA) will face Padres RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (2-0, 0.66) on Saturday.