- Associated Press - Saturday, September 11, 2010

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Yorvit Torrealba made sure the San Diego Padres did not lose their NL West lead for the first time in nearly three months.

Torrealba homered, then threw out Darren Ford on an attempted steal of second base for a double play that ended Saturday’s 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants.

San Francisco had won the first two games of the series, closing within one percentage point in the division race as the Padres lost for the 13th time in 15 games. The victory boosted San Diego’s margin back to one game.

Torrealba pretty much won the game for us,” Padres closer Heath Bell said. “He hasn’t been hitting the ball lately, then he hits a home run. Then he comes up big by throwing Ford out. With us, you never know who is going to come up big.”

Tim Stauffer (4-3), a long reliever making his third start of the season, allowed three hits in six innings and pitched out of his only jam in the second. Stauffer is 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA in those starts.

“Amazing. Amazing,” Torrealba said of Stauffer’s outing. “He’s been in the bullpen all year long, and for him to step up and keep us in the game, it was amazing.”

Three relievers completed the three-hitter, with Bell getting his 40th save in 43 chances after Luke Gregerson and Mike Adams pitched an inning each. Bell reached 40 saves for the second straight season.

“That’s how we have done it all year,” Bell said. “It stands out more now, though, because we lost most of our lead and we are getting it back in September, when everyone is paying attention.”

San Diego, which has not been out of first place since June 16, had a 6 1/2-game lead before play on Aug. 26. The Padres have 21 games remaining and the Giants have 19.

San Francisco, which had won nine of 12, hasn’t been in first place since May 6.

“We just couldn’t do anything offensively,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had an opportunity but just couldn’t cash it in.”

The teams complete the series Sunday, with the red-hot Mat Latos (14-5) starting for Padres against two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (13-9).

“If we win Sunday, it puts them two games back and, basically, puts us in the driver’s seat again,” Bell said.

It will be hard for Sunday’s game to match the drama of Saturday’s.

Aubrey Huff was hit in the right elbow by a pitch with one out _ Huff also was hit in the same spot Friday and scored in San Francisco’s 1-0 win. But Bell closed out this victory when Buster Posey struck out, and Torrealba threw out Ford, who pinch ran for Huff.

Story Continues →