Giants get just enough to back Cueto's shutout

Giants get just enough to back Cueto's shutout

SAN FRANCISCO -- Denard Span broke an offensive logjam Tuesday night with a fifth-inning RBI double as the San Francisco Giants handed a superb Johnny Cueto his 100th career victory with a 1-0 decision over the San Diego Padres.

Reaching triple digits would have made this a memorable game for Cueto (4-1) under any circumstance. But he put a little something extra in it by striking out 11 in his 13th career complete game and seventh shutout. Cueto yielded seven hits and stranded four runners in scoring position.

But he needed at least one run, and Span provided it by drilling a 3-1 pitch off the right-field wall to score Brandon Crawford from second base. Span, an offseason free-agent acquisition along with Cueto, is batting .563 (9-for-16) with runners in scoring position.

Span's RBI double

Span also endured the curse of all Giants hitters not named Barry Bonds -- connecting with a pitch as solidly as possible yet still not homering.

"I'm going to blame that on our strength coach [Carl Kochan]," Span jokingly said.

That was the lone lapse by Padres starter James Shields, who allowed three hits in seven innings before being removed for a pinch-hitter.

"He threw the ball every bit as well as Johnny Cueto did, and obviously, Cueto threw the ball very well today, so you've got to figure out a way to scratch a run across," Padres manager Andy Green said. "We had three or four opportunities, and the difference in the game was Denard Span steps up and gets a big hit."

Shields' seven strong innings

Big pitches to a big hitter: Cueto directly challenged the Padres, as demonstrated by his approach to Matt Kemp. Cueto struck out Kemp with a runner on third base and one out in the first inning, then fanned the ex-Dodger again in the fourth with a runner on first base.

Cueto shuts out Padres

Can't find their way home: On three occasions, the Padres put a runner on third base with one out, but they came away empty-handed all three times -- including a frustrating sequence in the fourth. With men on the corners and one out, Melvin Upton Jr. was thrown out stealing. Derek Norris followed by hitting a deep fly ball that would have plated a run, but instead qualified as the third out.

Posey throws out Upton Jr.

"Couple unfortunate events," said Norris. "We've got to do a better job of situational hitting. But other than that, there wasn't a whole lot of action on the bases tonight. Both pitchers did a great job."

Timely defense: Cueto started a double play, in a sense, when he fanned Padres first baseman Wil Myers on a 3-2 pitch for the second out in the eighth inning. Pinch-runner Travis Jankowski broke for second base and was thrown out by catcher Buster Posey to end the inning.

Giants turn double play

Yes, he Wil: With a single to left in the top of the fourth inning, Myers extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the second longest of his career. He's one game away from tying a personal best, which he set in July 2013.

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"I think everybody's frustrated, and rightfully so after a game like that. There's no doubt [Shields] is giving absolutely everything he has on the mound and he's competing to win every day. So I'm sure there's frustration for him now, but he knows he did absolutely everything he could possibly do. That's probably the best game we've thrown all season." -- Green

The Giants lengthened their winning streak against the Padres at AT&T Park to seven games, dating back to last season.

The Giants challenged a fifth-inning call that denied them an inning-ending double play when Jon Jay was ruled to have beaten out the back end of a potential double-play grounder. A replay review overturned the call on the field, giving the Giants what they wanted and preventing the Padres from breaking a scoreless tie.

Giants turn a double play

Bochy acknowledged the ultimate ruling helped the Giants win.

"That's a huge play," he said. " … It's good to see us get one. We haven't had a lot of luck there. Even though he looks out and we think he's out, with what's happened his week, we've had a couple of tough [challenges] that didn't go our way. We still don't know. So that was a big moment when he called him out."

Padres: Andrew Cashner takes the hill Wednesday afternoon for the series finale in San Francisco as the Padres look to snap their four-game skid. Cashner is coming off consecutive outings in which he allowed just one run in six innings, but he's struggled in the past against the Giants.

Giants: Though the sample size is small, the Giants would like to improve upon their 3-5 record in day games, since they play so many of them. They'll get another chance in Wednesday's 12:45 p.m. PT series finale against San Diego. Jeff Samardzija, who happens to own a 19-33 record with a 4.60 ERA in day games, will start for the Giants.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.