Sept. 14, 2011: San Francisco Giant's Carlos Beltran, right, celebrates with Aubrey Huff after hitting a solo home run off of San Diego Padres starting pitcher Mat Latos in the sixth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, on Wednesday.. It was Beltran's 300th career home run and his second home run of the day.AP
Carlos Beltrán has gone through a roller coaster of a season, but the Giant is apparently on the upswing – he slammed his milestone 300th home run.
"It means a lot for me, actually. Thank God for that, being able to play this game for a long time," said Beltrán, both knees wrapped in ice bags and his hand sore. "Three hundred, for a guy from Manatí, Puerto Rico, a small town, it's good."
Beltrán became the sixth Puerto Rican-born player to reach 300 home runs.
He homered in the first inning and again in the sixth with a splash hit into McCovey Cove to put the Giants ahead. It marked the slugger's 30th career multihomer game, third this year and first since joining San Francisco in a trade from the Mets on July 28.
"Beltrán is one of the best players in the National League. And he's got that in him," Padres manager Bud Black said.
Lincecum (13-12) outdueled Mat Latos (7-14) for his first win since beating the Padres on Aug. 24.
The defending World Series champion Giants began the day trailing the first-place Diamondbacks by 8½ games in the NL West. Arizona had a night game at Los Angeles.
San Francisco has its first four-game winning streak since July 9-15.
Lincecum allowed four hits and an unearned run in seven innings. He struck out six and walked two as the Giants wrapped up their first winning home series in the last eight sets since taking two of three against Milwaukee from July 22-24. September call-up Hector Sanchez caught Lincecum for the first time.
"A lot of credit goes to Sanchez for making adjustments from our first inning on," Lincecum said.
After Dan Runzler walked pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia to start the eighth, Sergio Romo relieved and retired the side in order. He pumped his fist after striking out Cameron Maybin to end the inning. Santiago Casílla finished with a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save.
San Diego, which dropped its fourth straight this season at AT&T Park and sixth in seven games, was swept in a series of three or more games against the Giants for the first time since Aug. 22-24, 2008. This was San Francisco's first sweep this year since taking three in a row June 24-26 from Cleveland.
It was largely because of Beltrán.
The slugger's shot into the water beyond the right-field arcade was the fourth by a Giants player this year, 59th by San Francisco overall and No. 83 in the history of the 12-year-old ballpark. Home run king Barry Bonds has 35 of them.
"He makes this park look small at times," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I think it puts you in a really elite class — 500 is the benchmark for guys who are going in the Hall of Fame, 300 is quite a feat. Few guys have done that."
Beltrán also homered over the elevated brick wall in right to tie the game in the first. He went 7 for 12 (.583) with a double, three homers and four RBIs in the series and is batting .520 (13 for 25) with four homers in seven games against San Diego this season.
"You really have to hit the ball good in order to hit it out," Beltrán said. "That's why in the dugout we always talk about what Barry Bonds did here for many years."
Kayaker Dave Edlund, a McCovey Cove regular, retrieved Beltrán's 300th and also No. 298 after it hit the water on the bounce. Beltrán was open to a trade with Edlund but also fine with the fan keeping the souvenir.
Whether Beltrán will be hitting home runs here beyond this season is unclear. He said that will be a decision for after the season, though it's not certain the Giants will want to pay him the contract he seeks, either. Beltrán can become a free agent after the World Series and is represented by Scott Boras.
"It's not my decision, but I'd be happy if he comes back," All-Star third baseman Pablo Sandoval said.
The Padres took a 1-0 lead against Lincecum on Jesus Guzmán's two-out RBI double in the first.
Latos was tagged for seven hits and three runs in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
Sandoval provided a big defensive stop to end the third with Will Venable on third after he stole his 26th base. Sandoval lunged to his left to field Guzman's sharp grounder, then fired to first just in time while throwing from one knee. He chuckled after doing it again on nearly an identical play on Maybin's grounder in the sixth.
"Tough as he usually is," Maybin said of Lincecum. "That's why he's a Cy Young Award winner."
Based on reporting by the Associated Press