Padres' three homers trump Bonds' one 04/05/2007 2:48 AM ET By Corey Brock / MLB.com SAN FRANCISCO -- In baseball circles, Adrian Gonzalez's success against left-handed pitchers might merit surprise to many, though Padres general manager Kevin Towers is certainly not in that company. Ask Towers about how well the Padres' 24-year-old first baseman mashes lefties and he is apt to give you a shrug of indifference, even after Gonzalez's heroics Wednesday. "Your good hitters hit lefties and righties -- [Tony] Gwynn was like that," Towers said. "Winning types of players come up with those hits." Four days removed from signing a four-year, $9.5 million contract that will keep him in a Padres uniform for a while, Gonzalez drilled a mammoth two-run home run in the eighth inning to lift the Padres to a 5-3 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park. No, not too bad a week for Gonzalez. And that Gonzalez got his game-winning hit off left-handed reliever Jack Taschner, who was brought into a tie game for the explicit purpose to get two left-handers, Brian Giles and Gonzalez, out, didn't register much of a shock at all. Gonzalez is hitting .283 in his young career off left-handed pitchers with six home runs -- with a big enough sample size (166 at-bats) so that pundits can't just pass off his success against southpaws as simply good fortune. So how is this possible? How can a young, left-handed hitter have so much success when others his age typically struggle against lefties, becoming too pull conscious or getting in the bad habit of bailing on breaking pitches that often appear to be coming at their heads? "More than anything, I don't try to pull the ball," Gonzalez said, attempting to explain his success against lefties. "Most of the time, I try to go up the middle or the other way. The minute you start bailing on offspeed pitches or not staying in against fastballs and sliders, you're in trouble." Gonzalez's home run, his first of the season, overshadowed -- if that can truly be the case -- another home run hit by a left-handed slugger earlier in the game. Barry Bonds hit a solo home run in the first inning off Padres starter Chris Young, an opposite-field shot. It was Bonds' 735th career home run, one that brought the crowd of 39,938 to its feet. But only for a while. That was, essentially, the big offensive highlight for the Giants. Yes, they did score two more runs, including getting an RBI single from Pedro Feliz in the sixth inning to tie the score, which eventually chased Young. "I thought Chris, overall, threw the ball well," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I thought his stuff was good and that he made pitches when he needed to. ... He might have tired at the end." The Giants have scored two runs in 18 innings against the Padres, and their new manager, former Padres manager Bruce Bochy, is still looking for his first victory while San Diego's first-year manager, Black, is probably wondering if things will ever get difficult. The Padres had eight hits Wednesday, including three from new leadoff hitter Marcus Giles and three more from Gonzalez. All five runs came off home runs, as Khalil Greene and Giles each hit home runs off Giants starter Matt Cain. "He threw well; you can look at those two mistakes there, but I thought overall he pitched well tonight," Bochy said of Cain, who struck out six in six innings. "He gave us a chance to win. We had a couple of good chances there, just couldn't get something to fall in." San Diego's pitching and defense had a hand in that, of course. Young allowed three runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings with three walks and earned a no-decision, something that should ring familiar. Last season, Young -- who went the entire 2006 season without losing on the road -- had 15 no-decisions. The pitchers who followed Young fared considerably better. Cla Meredith (1-0) had a lot of life on his sinker and got three ground-ball outs and a strikeout. Scott Linebrink threw a scoreless eighth inning before closer Trevor Hoffman earned career save No. 483 with an eight-pitch ninth inning. It only looked that easy. Center fielder Mike Cameron made a diving catch of Rich Aurilia's sinking fly ball in the eighth inning, which loomed large when the next hitter, Bengie Molina, singled. Earlier in the game, third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff made a nice running catch-and-throw play on Randy Winn's bunt in the fourth inning. "Those are the intangibles, the little things," Meredith said. "When those things happen, they change the course of the game. Those were two plays that shouldn't go unnoticed." Much like Gonzalez's home run against a left-hander Wednesday, though that hit was certainly easier to take note of -- and, if you're the Padres, appreciate -- after Wednesday. ____________________________________________ I'm luvin me the Padres Bullpen!