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Hunter Pence powers Giants past Padres 7-3

  • San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence, right, is congratulated by third base coach Tim Flannery (1) after hitting a solo home run off of San Diego Padres pitcher Burch Smith during the third inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

SAN FRANCISCO — Hunter Pence hit his career-best 26th home run to back a shaky outing by Ryan Vogelsong and the San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres 7-3 Friday night.

Brandon Belt and Juan Perez also homered for San Francisco in the first game of the season-ending series between two teams battling to stay out of the cellar in the NL West.

Vogelsong (4-6) gave up a pair of runs in the first three innings and had to pitch out of a two-on, two-out jam in the sixth to win for the first time since Aug. 25.

Chris Denorfia singled and scored twice for the Padres, who lost for the sixth time in seven games at San Francisco's waterfront ballpark.

An hour after receiving San Francisco's 2013 "Willie Mac Award," given out annually to the most inspirational Giants player, Pence homered off San Diego starter Burch Smith to cap a three-run third inning.

The 30-year-old outfielder is set to become a free agent this offseason and has already stated his desire to return to San Francisco.

Belt also homered in the third while Perez hit his first career home run in the second.

Vogelsong did just enough to make it hold up.

The Giants' right-hander, who missed more than 2 1/2 months after breaking bones near the pinkie of his pitching hand on a swing in May, allowed five hits over six innings. He walked four and struck out three.

San Francisco is trying to close out its season on a strong note after struggling nearly all season. The defending World Series champs (75-85) are guaranteed of their worst finish since going 72-90 in 2008.


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