SAN DIEGO -- Trevor Brown made the most of his first Major League hit Tuesday and Angel Pagan hit a two-run home run as the Giants edged the Padres, 4-2, at Petco Park. San Francisco's faint postseason hopes improved as the Dodgers lost, cutting the Giants' National League West deficit to six games.
"I've talked about this so many times -- you never know," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, refusing to concede the defending World Series champions' status as contenders.
Ross struck out a season-high 11 batters, getting nine in the first four innings alone. He allowed three hits with two walks in six innings. The 11 strikeouts tied his career high.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Kontos in control: Relieving starter Chris Heston with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning, George Kontos preserved the Giants' 1-0 edge by retiring Matt Kemp on a foul popup and Justin Upton on a fly to deep left-center field. Dangerous as these hitters were, Kontos had navigated these waters before. He struck out Kemp to end a Dodgers threat in an intense 2012 affair, and Upton was 0-for-10 lifetime off him.
Kontos denied dwelling on his personal histories with certain hitters.
"In the moment, I just go about my job," he said. However, Kontos did admit that his three-year-old encounter with Kemp "always runs in the back of my mind" in retrospect.
"We had some balls hit hard right to the fence that may have went out on a different day, they got caught," interim manager Pat Murphy said. "We are both playing on the same field so that is no excuse. It just seems like whatever we did, we couldn't connect and it wasn't quite far enough, so to speak."
Ross is Boss: When Ross struck out Brown looking in the third inning Tuesday, he reached the 200-strikeout milestone for the season. Ross joined James Shields (208) as the first pair of Padres teammates to reach the 200-strikeout plateau in a season.
"I just had a good two-seamer going and my slider was biting harder and I missed a lot of bats," said Ross, who has 205 strikeouts.
Sealing the win: Pagan contributed an essential two-run homer in the seventh inning. The Giants center fielder has hit all three of his home runs during this month. One inning earlier, Brandon Crawford, who was mired in a 4-for-49 skid, interrupted his slump by stroking an RBI single. Crawford was batting in the cleanup spot for only the second time this season and in his career.
Spangy big fly: Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg's game is built on speed -- not power. But he hit a home run Sunday in Colorado and then, after Monday's off-day, hit one Tuesday against the Giants in the sixth inning. Spangenberg has a career-high four home runs this season. He later added an infield single -- using that speed.
"We punched out 16 tonight. The Giants had a bunch of starters missing and to punch out 16 and lose, that's pretty unusual." -- Murphy.
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With Ross' 11 strikeouts, Padres starting pitchers have 832 strikeouts this season, a franchise record. The previous mark was held by San Diego's starting rotation in 1998 (828).
Brett Wallace hit a pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning to cut the Giants' lead to 4-2. It was his fourth pinch-hit home run of the season, which leads the big leagues.
In the fourth inning, Murphy challenged the call that Upton was out while attempting to steal second base. The throw from Brown got to Crawford on time, but the tag seemed possibly delayed. After the review, the umpires determined that the play stands and Upton walked back to the dugout.
In the eighth inning, the Giants challenged the call that Crawford was not hit by a pitch from reliever Shawn Kelley. After the review, the umpires determined that the play stands; Crawford eventually singled in the same at-bat.
WHAT'S NEXT Giants:Jake Peavy will get the start for the Giants for Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. PT game. Peavy (7-6, 4.08 ERA) last faced San Diego on Sept. 11, when he allowed one run off of two hits while pitching through seven innings.
Padres: San Diego will send Andrew Cashner to the mound on Wednesday night. Cashner (6-15, 4.25 ERA) is 0-2 against the Giants this season with a 7.59 ERA.