Padres break out of slump with season-high 10 runs to batter Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- After struggling for the better part of the last month, the San Diego Padres were looking for any sort of positive sign to take into the All-Star break.

They finally got it.

Kevin Kouzmanoff and Eliezer Alfonzo hit three-run homers, Will Venable also homered and set a career-high with four hits, and the Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 10-4 to snap a season-high seven-game losing streak.

"You kind of get to the point where you have to prove you can do it, and we did today," winning pitcher Kevin Correia said. "We've got guys that can hit the ball. We just have to start doing it on a consistent basis."

San Diego scored six runs total its previous four games but had that many in the first three innings off San Francisco starter Barry Zito. The Padres finished with a season-high 10 runs, the last major league team to reach double digits in scoring this season.

Kouzmanoff and Alfonzo both homered off Zito, who was tagged with his team-leading ninth loss of the season. Luis Rodriguez added a pair of RBIs as San Diego had five different players drive in runs.

"It's a good win for the guys to be in a type of game like that because they know we're capable of that," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We play close games because we have the pitching, for the most part, to keep us in games. We just haven't scored at the rate like we did today."

The Padres, who were held without a hit by San Francisco lefty Jonathan Sanchez on Friday, broke out of their offensive slump early against Zito.

Kouzmanoff's homer came after Everth Cabrera and Venable -- son of former Giants outfielder Max Venable -- led off the game with singles. Alfonzo's three-run shot to left in the third drove in Venable and Kouzmanoff, who went a combined 8 for 10 with seven runs scored.

That was enough for Correia (6-7), who gave up three runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings in his second career start against his former team. The right-hander retired 11 of 12 during one stretch and got some help from his defense before tiring in the sixth.

He gave up a pair of one-out singles in the first but got out of the inning with a 5-4-3 double play, then held the Giants offense in check until John Bowker's solo homer in the fifth.

Correia, who pitched for San Francisco from 2003-08, didn't get the decision the first time he pitched against his former team earlier this season but earned the win this time.

"It wasn't that big a deal. It felt like another start, really," Correia said. "I'm comfortable pitching here and I've pitched against the Giants earlier this year. At this point I think I've earned the right to go back out there every five days. Obviously I didn't always earn it when I was with the Giants. I kind of pitched my way out of the rotation a couple times."

Correia ran into trouble in the sixth after giving up a two-out double to Bengie Molina and walking Nate Schierholtz. Edgar Renteria and Bowker followed with RBI singles to chase Correia before reliever Luke Gregerson struck out Juan Uribe to end the inning.

San Francisco added another run in the ninth off San Diego closer Heath Bell.

Zito (5-9) had yet another rocky outing. The left-hander retired the side in order just once and was booed heavily by the crowd after surrendering the three-run homer to Alfonzo.

The booing continued when Zito left the mound after giving up three hits in the fifth. All three runners eventually scored, marking the third time in Zito's career that he has given up nine runs or more in a game.

The loss prevented San Francisco from reaching the 50-win mark before the All-Star break for the first time since 2003.

Bowker hit his first homer of the season and his first since Sept. 24, 2008, in the fifth for the Giants, who still head into the All-Star break with the third best winning percentage in the National League behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia.

"I told the guys to enjoy the break because they should be proud of the way they played in the first half," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We need to keep the momentum going. It's going to take everybody to make this work."

Venable homered off San Francisco reliever Merkin Valdez in the eighth.

Game notes
Kouzmanoff had four hits for the third time in his career ... Molina was back in San Francisco's lineup after taking two days off to be with his wife for the birth of the couple's first child, daughter Jayda Marie, who was born early Saturday afternoon. ... The Giants had been a season-high 11 games over .500 before the loss.