Giants 2, Padres 1

Carlos Beltran was finally healthy enough to give the home fans

a reason to cheer.

Beltran shook of the pain around his right wrist to hit his

first home run since being traded to San Francisco, powering the

Giants past the San Diego Padres 2-1 on Wednesday night.

The switch-hitting right fielder wasn’t even sure he could hit

lefty before the game. He applied a heat pack to his wrist between

innings as the thick summer fog rolled under the lights in the

ballpark along the bay, and it was just enough to ease the

pain.

”We decided to give it a try,” Beltran said. ”And good things

happened.”

Beltran returned to the starting lineup for the first time in

more than two weeks, sending a change-up from Tim Stauffer (8-10)

over the wall in right field in the fourth for his 16th home run of

the season. The solo shot was the first of his career at AT&T

Park.

Tim Lincecum (12-10) struck out seven and walked five in eight

innings, pitching out of the stretch again the entire game. He gave

up three hits and also had the go-ahead RBI single.

Santiago Casilla pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of

the season in place of injured closer Brian Wilson. Lincecum

finished with 124 pitches.

”Guys were making double plays and playing great defense every

time I’d walk a guy or something,” Lincecum said. ”Everything was

just timely.”

The biggest and best news for the Giants, however, was the rapid

return of its once splashy signing.

Beltran, acquired in a July 28 trade with the New York Mets,

strained his hand and wrist swinging against Philadelphia’s Roy

Oswalt on Aug. 7. He was activated from the disabled list Tuesday

and popped out in his lone pinch-hit appearance.

Beltran was back to batting third in the lineup in the finale as

San Francisco split a quick two-game set against San Diego. He

singled and finished 2 for 4.

Nothing delighted the home fans more than giving Beltran a

standing ovation after his fourth-inning shot put San Francisco

ahead 1-0. Giants fans are hoping Beltran can awaken a slumping

offense and help the defending World Series champions get back to

the playoffs.

”I think it gives us a lot of confidence that he’s healthy and

he’s going to step up,” said short stop Orlando Cabrera.

”Hopefully, he can carry us the rest of the season and put up big

numbers.”

If nothing else, they hope it’s a sign of good things to come

after weeks of little support.

Rookie Brandon Belt led off the fifth with his first career

triple. Two batters later, Lincecum hit a chopper over the first

baseman to give the Giants a 2-0 lead.

After Cameron Maybin singled to start the sixth for the Padres,

Beltran again found himself at the center of another big play. He

dove for a ball near the right corner and missed, allowing Orlando

Hudson to slide in for a triple and San Diego to slice the deficit

to 2-1.

”The dude is a two-time Cy Young Award winner,” Hudson said.

”He ain’t no punk on the mound.”

The Padres never could mount anything else offensively.

The Giants avoided having to face closer Heath Bell, who they

claimed off waivers. San Diego has 48 hours from the time Bell was

claimed to decide whether to work out a trade with San Francisco,

allow him to be claimed or pull him back from waivers.

NOTES: Home run king Barry Bonds was sitting with his son in box

seats near the Giants dugout. … U.S. women’s soccer team members

Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe were in attendance. Both were

wearing Panda hats, which Giants fans often wear in support of 3B

Pablo Sandoval. … The Padres optioned RHP Pat Neshek to Triple-A

Tucson. … RHP Ryan Vogelsong (10-3, 2.47 ERA) starts for the

Giants against Houston’s RHP Henry Sosa (0-2, 6.35 ERA) in the

opener of a four-game series Thursday. … San Diego is off

Thursday and begins a three-game series at Arizona on Friday.