SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rookie reliever Adam Cimber was in the weight room after throwing two scoreless innings when All-Star closer Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth to save the San Diego Padres’ 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.
A few minutes later, Cimber was getting a raucous beer bath from his teammates to celebrate his first big league win.
“Really cold,” said Cimber, 27, who made the club out of spring training as a non-roster invitee. “Absolutely worth it.”
Cimber’s victory and Hand’s four-out save — he became the first Padres reliever to strike out every batter he faced in a save of more than one inning — were made possible by Hunter Renfroe’s strong throw from right field in the top of the seventh inning followed by the slugger’s go-ahead, two-run homer in the bottom of the frame.
The Padres beat the Giants for the second straight night and leapfrogged the Los Angeles Dodgers into fourth place in the NL West.
Renfroe changed the game with a throw and a swing.
He lined a shot to left off Cory Gearrin (0-1), his second, to give the Padres the lead in the seventh. Freddy Galvis was aboard on a leadoff single. Renfroe finished with three RBIs.
San Francisco’s Joe Panik tripled with one out in the seventh and the Giants seemed poised to add to their 4-3 lead. But Andrew McCutchen lined out to Renfroe in right. Renfroe’s strong throw was cut off by first baseman Christian Villanueva, who threw to catcher A.J. Ellis to tag the sliding Panik. The play was upheld after a review of 2 minutes, 41 seconds.
“I think the game-winning home run is always going to be tops,” Renfroe said. “You always want to do something to help the pitcher as far as the throw, but you always want to hit homers for yourself and the team. It’s good.”
After Renfroe’s homer, the Padres loaded the bases but Tony Watson retired the side on two strikeouts and a line out to shortstop.
Cimber (1-1) allowed only Panik’s triple in his two scoreless innings while striking out three. He took the loss on opening day in a 2-1, 12-inning defeat to Milwaukee.
Watching Hand save his first win was “just pure excitement,” Cimber said. “It crossed my mind but it’s cooler to just help the team win.”
Hand earned his sixth save. He came on after Evan Longoria doubled with two outs in the eighth and struck out pinch-hitter Hunter Pence. Hand struck out the side in the ninth.
“The more you pitch him the better he gets,” manager Andy Green said. “You run him out there and he gets sharper and sharper.”
San Francisco wasted impressive homers by Longoria and McCutchen, who were acquired in the offseason to give the Giants some pop. Longoria drove a 2-0 pitch from Clayton Richard an estimated 426 feet into the second deck in left to tie the game at 2 in the fourth. It was his second. The Giants took the lead with two outs when Austin Jackson’s singled to bring in Brandon Crawford, who had tripled.
McCutchen led off the fifth with a 424-foot shot into the second deck, also his second.
The Padres pulled to 4-3 in the fifth on Jose Pirela’s RBI double. They loaded the bases against Derek Holland with two outs, but Reyes Moronta came on and got Chase Headley to ground out to first base.
San Diego took a 2-0 lead in the first on rookie Villanueva’s line-shot homer to left, his fourth, and Renfroe’s sacrifice fly. It was Villanueva’s first homer since April 3, when he hit three against Colorado.
Holland allowed three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, struck out four and walked two. Richard allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings, struck out three and walked three.
“Got to tip your hat,” Holland said. “It’s not like I was doing anything bad. I was throwing strikes. Can’t get too caught up in those kind of things. Got to keep plugging away. Definitely it’s frustrating but everything will turn at some point. Just have to keep fighting. It was just my fault of trying to be too fine. I just didn’t get them off rhythm.”
Giants: Manager Bruce Bochy was encouraged after RHP Johnny Cueto, on the disabled list with a sprained left knee, threw a total of 40 pitches Saturday, 20 to hitters and 20 more on the side. “He looked good,” Bochy said. “Right now it looks like a go.” Cueto could start Tuesday.
Padres: RHP Dinelson Lamet, who will undergo reconstructive elbow surgery next week, was transferred to the 60-day DL. San Diego claimed LHP Taylor Webb off waivers from Milwaukee. He’ll report to Triple-A El Paso.
Giants: RHP Tyler Beede (0-0, 4.50) is scheduled to make his second start of the season in the series finale on Sunday. He was added to the roster to replace Cueto.
Padres: Rookie LHP Joey Lucchesi (1-0, 1.72) is coming off his first big league win,