SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Padres right-hander Aaron Harang still has an outside shot at matching his career high for wins, something that seemed a moot point at the start of the season.
He just needs to pitch better than he did against San Francisco.
Harang gave up three home runs for the second time this season and San Diego managed only three hits off five San Francisco pitchers in an 8-3 loss to the Giants on Monday.
``I couldn't get in a groove out there,' said Harang after losing for the third time in four starts. ``I was rushing a little bit. I just couldn't get everything locked down like I wanted too.'
Harang (13-6), who was 4-0 in six previous starts against the Giants, left after the fifth. He allowed six hits and struck out four.
That left him three wins shy of his career high of 16 set in 2006 and matched in '07. Duplicating it again might be tough.
With a little more than two weeks left in the regular season, Harang is going to be hard-pressed to get three more starts in.
``He made some pitches as the game went on but he got some balls up in the zone,' San Diego manager Bud Black said. ``I thought he settled in and did some good things. We've seen Aaron better but he battled and he competed the whole game.'
Carlos Beltran, Cody Ross and Pablo Sandoval homered in a rare show of power at AT&T Park for the Giants, who have won two straight but still trail division-leading Arizona by 8 1-2 games.
The setting was a lot different than a year ago at this time when these teams battled for the NL West title in a race that went down to the final day of the regular season.
The Giants still harbor slim postseason hopes this year while the Padres are just finishing out the string.
To get back in it, San Francisco needs its offense to keep producing like it has the past two days.
San Francisco, the majors' lowest-scoring team since the All-Star break, put up eight runs for the second straight game. It's the first time the Giants have done that in back-to-back games since the first two games of the 2010 World Series.
Most of the offense came from San Francisco's big three of Beltran, Ross and Sandoval.
Beltran went 2 for 4 and drove in two runs, Ross came a triple shy of hitting for the cycle while Sandoval capped the night with a towering, three-run homer in the seventh.
The three home runs were the first by the Giants in a game at their waterfront ballpark since Sept. 30, 2010.
``That's something we've been missing,' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``We're hanging by a thread, but it's not over.'
Eric Surkamp (2-0) pitched 5 2-3 innings for his second major league victory - both coming against San Diego. The left-hander, who beat the Padres on Sept. 6, allowed seven hits and walked one.
That might be enough to keep the 24-year-old in the Giants' rotation. Barry Zito, who has two years remaining on the $126 million deal he signed before the 2007 season, came off the disabled list Sunday but will most likely work out of the bullpen unless one of the other starters gets hurt.
One day after scoring eight runs in a win over the Dodgers - the most runs by the Giants in more than a month - the defending World Series champs matched it against the Padres.
Beltran provided early offense when he snapped an 0-for-15 skid with a two-run shot off Aaron Harang in the first. The ball easily cleared the wall in right field, bounced on the cement landing and fell into McCovey Cove.
It was Beltran's 18th home run of the season and third since being traded from the Mets to San Francisco on July 28.
Ross homered leading off the third, then added an RBI single in the seventh. Sandoval put the game out of reach with his three-run drive off reliever Andrew Carpenter.
San Diego, which fell to 1-4 on its seven-game road trip, scored a run in the fourth with the help of Surkamp's throwing error, then added two more in the sixth on four consecutive two-out singles to chase the San Francisco rookie.
Kyle Banks knocked in one run and Orlando Hudson singled in Chris Denorfia to cut the lead to 4-3.
San Diego put two runners on in the eighth but failed to score.
Sergio Romo, the fifth San Francisco pitcher, got Hudson to hit into an inning-ending double play, then retired the side in the ninth.
NOTES: OF Will Venable also played catch during batting practice to test his shoulder and could return to San Diego's lineup Tuesday. ... Black hinted that prized prospect Anthony Rizzo could get into the starting lineup in the next few days. ... Black said an ineffective slider is to blame for reliever Luke Gregerson's dip in strikeouts this year. Gregerson set a major league record for holds in 2010 and averaged 10.2 strikeouts over nine innings but that number has dipped to 5.6 this year. ... RHP Matt Cain, who lost to San Diego in his last outing despite giving up two runs in seven innings, pitches for San Francisco on Tuesday. Cain (11-10) has won only twice in his previous eight starts. ... LHP Cory Luebke (5-9), who has dropped his last three starts, goes for the Padres.
The Associated Press News Service
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