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SF@SD: Headley's 30th homer puts Padres in the lead

SAN DIEGO -- When Chase Headley set his personal goals for offensive statistics prior to the season, 30 home runs was not something he ever imagined as a possibility. On Saturday night, however, that number became a reality.

Headley hit his 30th home run of the season to power the Padres to a 7-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants in the second of a three-game series at Petco Park.

The two-run blast in the third against Giants starter Madison Bumgarner helped the Padres overcome an early deficit, and gave them a lead they would not relinquish. Headley became the 12th Padres player to reach the 30-home run milestone, and the first since Adrian Gonzalez in 2010.

"It's exciting," Headley said of the milestone. "I think at the end of the year, I'll really be able to reflect a little bit more, but it feels good. You try not to think about it, but when you're right on the doorstep, you want to get over it. It was a great feeling when I hit it, and an even better feeling when I came to the dugout and had all the guys more happy than I was. That was really special."

Headley also offered insight into what his goals were before the season, coming off a 2011 campaign where he recorded four homers and given that he had never hit more than 12 in the Majors.

"Coming into the year, I set some goals," Headley said. "I wanted to hit 15 home runs and drive in 75 RBIs. That was my initial goal that I set, and it was something I hadn't done, but I thought it was attainable. That's where I started and kept resetting my goals when I'd reach a milestone. I got some great advice from Dave Winfield. I've never been a big numbers guy or goal-setter, but he suggested that at the beginning of the season."

The power surge has propelled Headley into what manager Bud Black sees as legitimate company among baseball's power hitters.

"After last year, and maybe some previous years, it's outstanding," Black said. "Thirty is a number that we talk about now. A few years, ago it was 40, maybe even 50, but now I think it has gone back to 30. The big boys are hitting 40, but 30 is a great number."

Eric Stults gave up three runs in the first in his final start of the season for the Padres. All three runs came on a homer by Hunter Pence, but a key play following the Pence home run helped swing the momentum in San Diego's favor.

The very next batter after Pence, outfielder Xavier Nady drilled a ball to straightaway center field that was destined to give the Giants back-to-back home runs until Cameron Maybin leaped up and snared the ball above the wall to end the inning and limit the damage.

"It was a well-hit ball, and I was able to get back to it and get my steps right, and take one quick little last peek at the wall," Maybin said. "It was a huge play, and we came back and responded really well. Making that play, it was really, really huge tonight."

Stults recovered from there to blank the Giants for the next five innings. The left-hander gave up six hits, struck out five and walked three, and spoke of Maybin's catch as a turning point.

"It's one of those where it kind of stops the bleeding a little bit," Stults said. "If that's another home run, then not only is it four runs in the first, but [we're] also still trying to get that third out. Obviously, Cam, the catch he made is one of the top 10 plays this season in all of baseball. I think he's one of the better defensive center fielders in the game. He's got a lot of range, and it's nice to have guys back there that can probably take away a few runs."

Chris Denorfia had three hits out of the leadoff spot for the Padres, and Jesus Guzman hit a solo home run and an RBI double. A crowd of 42,397 fans accounted for the Padres third sellout of the season.

The victory gives the Padres a chance to win a series against the Giants for the first time this season. San Diego has dropped two of three in each of the previous five series with the Giants and has not taken a series from San Francisco since winning two of three at the end of the 2010 season.

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