'Unit' Helps Giants Finish Season Over Padres 4-3 - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

'Unit' Helps Giants Finish Season Over Padres 4-3

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San Diego Padres starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc delivers a pitch in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants in a baseball game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) San Diego Padres starting pitcher Wade LeBlanc delivers a pitch in the first inning against the San Francisco Giants in a baseball game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Randy Johnson made what could be the last appearance of his brilliant, 22-year big league career, pitching one adventuresome inning of relief in the San Francisco Giants' 4-3, 10-inning win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

Although the Big Unit gave up an unearned run in the seventh that tied the game at 3, Pablo Sandoval provided the go-ahead run when he homered on the first pitch of the 10th inning. It was Sandoval's 25th.

The 46-year-old Johnson said Thursday that he'll take his time in the offseason deciding his future. The 303-game winner also hoped to get one more outing this season, and manager Bruce Bochy wanted to oblige.

With the Giants leading 3-2, Johnson allowed an unearned run when, with the bases loaded, Nick Hundley scored after Sandoval caught David

Eckstein's foul ball while tumbling head-over-heels into the Giants' third-base dugout.

Johnson struck out Hundley leading off the inning, but the ball got away from catcher Eli Whiteside and Hundley reached. Luis Durango folllowed with a bunt single and pinch-hitter Luis Rodriguez sacrificed.

Johnson hit Everth Cabrera on the foot to load the bases, bringing up Eckstein. The 246-pound Sandoval was reaching for Eckstein's foul ball when he hit the padded railing in front of the dugout and, unable to slow his momentum, tumbled over it, holding onto the ball. It took him about a minute to get back on his feet and out of the dugout.

Because Sandoval left his feet to make the out and left the field of play, all the runners advanced a base.

Johnson, who struck out two to increase his career total to 4,875, has said he might be done if he can't return as a starter.

He missed more than two months with a shoulder injury before coming back last month in a reliever role. On June 4 at Washington, he became the 24th pitcher in major league history to reach 300 wins.

A five-time Cy Young Award winner, Johnson is 303-166 in a career that's included stops in Montreal, Seattle, Houston, Arizona, the New York Yankees and San Francisco.

Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, who no-hit San Diego on July 10, allowed two runs on three hits in 5 1-3 innings, walked four and struck out three.

Jeremy Affeldt (2-2) pitched two innings for the win. Brian Wilson pitched the 10th for his 38th save in 45 chances. Ryan Webb (2-1) took the loss after allowing Sandoval's homer.

The Giants, eliminated from the wild-card race on Wednesday night, finished 88-74, an improvement over last year's 72-90 finish.

The Padres, who were 63-99 last year, finished 75-87, going 37-25 since July 28. Still, that wasn't enough to save general manager Kevin Towers' job.

Towers was fired on Friday because CEO Jeff Moorad apparently didn't like his management style.

San Diego left fielder Chase Headley had a terrific play in the ninth inning, making a sliding catch of Randy Winn's sinking line drive, then make a one-hop throw to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to double off Whiteside, aboard on a leadoff single.

Eckstein hit a two-run homer to left with one out in the sixth off Sanchez, his second. Everth Cabrera was aboard on a single.

San Diego rookie Cesar Ramos allowed three runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings, struck out three and walked one.

NOTES: San Diego won the season series 10-8. ... Padres reliever Luke Gregerson had four strikeouts in the seventh inning. Eugenio Velez went down swinging, but the ball caromed off Hundley's glove for a passed ball, allowing Velez to take first.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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