SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – On one of the strangest nights in the 13-year history of AT&T Park, Buster Posey provided some normalcy.
The team’s best hitter over the past two weeks, Posey hit his 13th home run and added an RBI single to back Ryan Vogelsong’s first victory in nearly a month while helping the Giants to a 7-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Monday night.
“It’s hard to put a value on what he means to this club,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “We saw what life was like without him last year but he’s done an unbelievable job here the past few weeks finding ways to get the runs in.”
Posey helped the Giants to their fifth consecutive win at home and kept them 1½ games ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West.
It came on a night of unusual plays. There was an overturned call by the umpiring crew, Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera crashed into the stands while catching a foul ball and shortstop Brandon Crawford was ejected for the first time in his career after he had an apparent double wiped out when the umpires said he missed first base.
“There were a few weird things,” said Posey. “We’ve had some strange ones lately. We were fortunate to come out on top.”
Posey, the team’s All-Star catcher, is a big reason why.
His three-run shot off Padres starter Clayton Richard in the fifth inning was his third home run in 11 games and highlighted a 12-hit night for San Francisco.
Since going hitless against Pittsburgh on July 7, Posey has been hot. He went 3 for 4 against San Diego and is batting .512 with 17 RBIs during that stretch.
“I’m just trying to have a good approach every time out,” Posey said.
Cabrera and Ryan Theriot added three hits apiece for the Giants, who kicked off their longest homestand of the season. San Francisco also improved to 8-2 since the All-Star break.
The Giants scored four times against Richard in the first inning when they also got some help from the umpiring crew.
Posey’s RBI single opened the scoring and Angel Pagan followed with a bases loaded walk. Posey later scored on Joaquin Arias’ fielder’s choice to make it 3-0.
Crawford then hit a sinking line drive that Padres left fielder Mark Kotsay caught for the third out. Television replays appeared to show Kotsay trapping the ball, and Bochy came out to dispute the call as both teams left the field.
After a brief meeting, the umpires changed the decision and ruled it a hit. That forced the Padres back onto the field, and Pablo Sandoval, who was on third, was awarded home plate to push the Giants lead to 4-0.
“In a nutshell, when they convened three of four had the ball short-hopped,” San Diego manager Bud Black said. Third base umpire Dana DeMuth “thought he saw it the other way but they talked it over and made the change.”
Crawford was also involved in another disputed call in the sixth when he hit a one-out double but was called out after the Padres argued that Crawford missed first base and appealed.
Two innings later, Crawford was ejected after grounding out to first base when he appeared to say something to first base umpire Jordan Baker.
It was about the only mistake the Giants made.
Vogelsong allowed one run and four hits over seven innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out six while lowering his ERA to 2.26.
Yasmani Grandal had two hits for San Diego, which has lost five of seven games to San Francisco this season.
The Padres lost to the Giants for the 16th time in the past 21 games between the two clubs and lost center fielder Alexi Amarista to a left thumb injury.
Amarista was hurt while sliding into the bag after stealing second base in the fifth. He stayed in the game and completed the inning before being replaced by Jesus Guzman.
“I think he’ll be OK,” Black said of Amarista.
Theriot and Cabrera hit consecutive one-out singles in the fifth before Posey’s three-run home run off Richard made it 7-1.
Vogelsong (8-4) didn’t need much offensive support as it turned out.
The Giants right-hander gave up Yonder Alonso’s sacrifice fly in the fourth after allowing back-to-back hits to open the inning, but was otherwise stellar while winning for the first time since June 26.
Cabrera helped when he fell into the stands while chasing down Kotsay’s foul ball leading off the seventh. Cabrera jumped just before the short wall and made the catch before being helped to his feet by nearby fans.
Richard (7-11) gave up seven runs over five innings in his shortest outing of the season for the Padres. Three of his losses have been against the Giants.