Winn leads Giants' offensive surge

Winn leads Giants' offensive surge

SAN DIEGO -- In the hours before Cy Young Award candidate Tim Lincecum took the PETCO Park mound, Giants manager Bruce Bochy dwelled mostly on ... offense.

The Giants entered Saturday night's rematch against the San Diego Padres having amassed double-figure hit totals in seven consecutive games, their longest such streak of the season. One primary source for this surge has been outfielder Randy Winn, who ranked fifth in the National League with a .317 batting average and owned a nine-game hitting streak (18-for-40, .450) as Saturday dawned.

It's hard to believe that Winn batted eighth early last season.

"He reminds you of a Tony Gwynn, the way he uses the whole field and with his timely hits," Bochy said, employing high praise for Winn.

Typically a strong finisher, Winn hit .409 in his previous 27 games. Bochy attributed this to the switch-hitter's superior physical condition, as well as his common sense.

"He'll come up occasionally and say, 'I could use a break,'" Bochy said. "He's honest. He knows himself, and that's what you want to have."

Winn nevertheless leads the Giants with 140 games played.

Pablo Sandoval remained torrid, lining a two-out single Saturday that prolonged the first inning for Bengie Molina's home run before singling again in the third. Sandoval, who went 3-for-9 in the series' first two games, obviously meant what he said when he declared Friday that he liked hitting at PETCO Park. Few Major Leaguers share his sentiments.

Bochy, who managed the Padres when PETCO Park opened in 2004, was familiar with the gripes.

"Any kind of negative thoughts, I don't see where that's going to help you," Bochy said. "Your job at the plate is to get a good pitch to hit and swing at it. You start thinking you have to swing a little harder and you get a little pull-conscious. Thus you've compounded the problem."

Sandoval, who homered Friday, stayed in the lineup while moving across the diamond from third to first base. This, combined with Bochy's intent to start Rich Aurilia at third base, forced Travis Ishikawa to the bench one night after he went 3-for-3 with a home run. Bochy cited Aurilia's relative success (.286, 4-for-14, two homers) against Padres starter Chris Young as a factor in his decision.

John Bowker received his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Sept. 2, becoming the ninth Giant to play left field this year -- more than any other position. Winn played center field while Aaron Rowand received a rest.

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.