SAN FRANCISCO -- The first 21 games of the season have come and gone for the Padres and one of the biggest elements that has been missing is that familiar aggressive approach to baserunning that's become such a staple of their offense these last two seasons.
There's a good reason for that, third baseman Chase Headley said.
"You have to be in a position to do that," Headley said. "But you can't be very aggressive when you're down three runs."
Given a lead Friday in the first of three games against the Giants, the Padres did more than just hang on for a 5-3 victory before a sold-out crowd at AT&T Park. They were able to actually build on that lead in large part because of some daring baserunning in the seventh inning.
Clinging to a 3-2 lead, Jesus Guzman had a one-out double against reliever Jeremy Affeldt. Seeing that the left-handed reliever wasn't paying much attention to him, Guzman kept shuffling off the bag, each time getting further and further away.
Finally, Guzman, who now has all of 10 career stolen bases, swiped third base, beating the throw from catcher Hector Sanchez, who threw out two baserunners in the game.
"He got a good secondary [lead] and he felt it," Padres manager Bud Black said.
With the infield pulled in, something that wouldn't have happened had Guzman stayed at second base, Headley rolled a single up the middle to make it 4-2. Headley then went from first to third base when Nick Hundley dumped a single into center field, his fourth hit of the game.
"If your first instinct tells you to do something, you should do it," Headley said of the play. "My first thought was [Giants center fielder Angel Pagan] wouldn't be able to catch it."
That play, like the Guzman stolen base, loomed even bigger when Headley was able to score on a wild pitch by Affeldt to make it 5-2.
The Giants (10-10) got a home run from Buster Posey in the eighth inning to cut the lead to 5-3, but the Padres' aggressiveness on the bases provided them enough of a cushion they haven't had the chance to enjoy often this season.
"That's how we have to play," Black said. "That should always be a part of our game."
What has defined the Padres (7-14) thus far has been their lackluster defense. They entered the night with 21 errors, the second-most in baseball. They made three more Friday and could have had a fourth, thus making starting pitcher Cory Luebke work harder than he probably had to.
That might have been fine the way Luebke (3-1) has been pitching, but he admitted afterward to not being as sharp as he has been. He allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings and got 10 ground-ball outs with three strikeouts and no walks in an outing that saw him throw 100 pitches.
And this constituted an "off" outing?
"That's not the way you want to do it," Luebke said. "... I was falling behind and wasn't getting too many first-pitch strikes. It was a little battle finding myself."
The insistence of Hundley behind the plate probably saved him from an even more difficult night, as he called for more curveballs in the later innings.
"He wasn't as crisp as we've seen him the last couple of starts," Black said of Luebke, who has won his last three starts and has a 2.61 ERA. "We didn't help him [with the errors]. But overall, he threw strikes when he had to get back in counts."
The Padres scored first Friday, as Headley walked with two outs in the first inning and then scored on a double in the left-center gap by Hundley. That hit came against Giants starting pitcher Eric Hacker (0-1), who was called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Fresno.
Not surprisingly, Hundley was in the middle of the Padres' two-run fourth inning as he scored on a one-out single by Orlando Hudson to make it 2-1. One batter later, Cameron Maybin singled sharply into left field to make it 3-1.
"We're not getting timely hits. They did. And that's why they won," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
Leading, 3-2, in the sixth inning, the Padres loaded the bases with two outs. Jeremy Hermida, who has a team-leading four pinch-hits this season, stood on deck in case Bochy removed Hacker. But Hacker stayed and Luebke swung through three successive sliders to end the inning.
Hermida probably wouldn't have hit anyway as after the game, Black indicated that he will go on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a strained right adductor and hip flexor. Outfielder Blake Tekotte will join the team from Triple-A Tucson in time for Saturday's game.