- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 11, 2009

SAN DIEGO (AP) - There were two rarities at Petco Park Friday night _ a 51-minute rain delay and the San Diego Padres popping above .500.

Scott Hairston hit a three-run homer, Brian Giles drove in two runs and the Padres jumped on Barry Zito early to beat the San Francisco Giants 7-3.

It’s the first time the Padres (3-2) are above .500 since they were 8-7 last April 16. San Diego finished 63-99 last year, 21 games behind the NL West-winning Los Angeles Dodgers.

Shawn Hill (1-0) won his Padres debut while Zito (0-1) lasted only four innings in his season debut.

Hairston, San Diego’s center fielder, had a big catch and a big hit. With the Padres leading 4-2 with a runner on first and none out in the eighth, Hairston made a nice leaping catch of Bengie Molina’s fly ball near the top of the fence in left-center.

In the bottom of the inning, Hairston hit a three-run homer to center off Merkin Valdez.

A light rain turned into a downpour by the bottom of the fifth inning. The umpires ordered the teams off the field after the bottom of the sixth.

Zito, who is 21-31 with the Giants since signing a $126 million contract in December 2006, gave up four runs and seven hits. He threw 93 pitches, striking out four and walking two.

The Padres jumped on Zito for three straight hits, including Giles’ RBI double, to take a 3-0 lead in the first. Adrian Gonzalez’s groundout and Kevin Kouzmanoff’s single brought in the other runs.

San Francisco’s Emmanuel Burriss walked leading off the third and scored on Randy Winn’s single.

San Diego made it 4-1 in the fourth when Giles singled in David Eckstein, who was aboard on a two-out double to left.

The Giants had four straight hits opening the sixth inning to chase Hill, but scored only one run. Molina hit a flare single to right for the third hit to bring in Edgar Renteria, who was aboard on a leadoff double. Pablo Sandoval singled to right to load the bases and chase Hill. Luke Gregerson came on and got Travis Ishikawa to ground to first baseman Gonzalez, who threw home to force Fred Lewis with catcher Nick Hundley throwing back to Gonzalez to complete the double play. Aaron Rowand struck out to end the threat.

Hill was signed during spring training, five days after being released by the Washington Nationals. He allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings, with three strikeouts and a walk.

Notes:@ There have been only 16 rainouts in 41 seasons of big league ball in San Diego. The most recent was April 4, 2006, against the Giants. … There was a 29-minute rain delay last May 23 during a game against the Cincinnati Reds. … The last two NL Cy Young Award winners will be pitching this weekend at Petco Park. Padres ace Jake Peavy, the 2007 winner, is scheduled to start Saturday night against Jonathan Sanchez, while San Francisco ace Tim Lincecum, last year’s winner, faces Chris Young on Sunday. Peavy lost his opening day start to the Dodgers on Monday, while Lincecum struggled Tuesday in a win over Milwaukee, making it through just three innings. … San Diego’s three new starters _ Walter Silva, Kevin Correia and Hill _ have a combined 3.93 ERA through their first starts.

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