Williamson powers Giants past Padres

March 14th, 2016

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Rookie left fielder Mac Williamson homered and drove in three runs Sunday afternoon to help the San Francisco Giants end a three-game Cactus League losing streak with a 8-1 decision over the San Diego Padres.

Williamson snapped a scoreless third-inning tie with his team-leading fourth home run, an opposite-field drive to right field off Padres starter Brandon Maurer. One inning later, he began San Francisco's five-run, two-out uprising with a two-run, bases-loaded single. The outburst continued with Gorkys Hernandez's RBI double and Denard Span's two-run double.

Brandon Belt added an RBI double in the fifth inning for the Giants.

Chris Heston's four-inning performance complemented San Francisco's offense. Replacing an ailing Madison Bumgarner, Heston yielded one hit, walked none and struck out four. Heston gained 20 pounds during the offseason -- mostly weight he lost last year -- and the right-hander believes that maintaining his 220-pound bulk will help him stay stronger on the mound.

Heston's method for gaining weight was simple.

"I put down anything they put in front of me," he said.

Maurer worked three innings and allowed no hits aside from Williamson's long ball. He looked a whole lot different Sunday than he did in his start last Tuesday -- and it wasn't just the fact that he was clean-shaven. The right-hander needed just 31 pitches to complete his three innings, before throwing 15 more in the bullpen afterward. That's exactly the kind of efficiency he'll need to complete his transition back to the starting rotation.

"If I can keep that out there going, I'll have no problems," said Maurer, who was roughed up for five runs Tuesday. "Quick innings, quick outs, limited pitches."

Brett Wallace's sixth-inning single enabled San Diego to avoid a shutout.

Padres Up Next: The Padres head to Mesa on Monday for a 1:05 p.m. PT game against the Cubs, the first meeting this spring between the two teams. Colin Rea makes his third start of the spring, with the action available via an exclusive live audio webcast. Rea is looking more and more like a fit for one of the two openings at the back end of the Padres' starting rotation. So far this spring, Rea hasn't allowed a run in five innings and has three strikeouts. Better still, his velocity has increased each time out.

Giants Up Next:Johnny Cueto will try to improve upon his previous start when he faces Oakland at Mesa in Monday's 7:05 p.m. PT encounter. Cueto struggled in his Cactus League debut last Wednesday against Colorado, yielding five runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings. The game will be broadcast on Gameday Audio.