SAN DIEGO -- Before Sunday's series finale against the San Diego Padres, Giants manager Bruce Bochy sat hunched over his desk, intently studying a piece of paper with four screenshots of Buster Posey's swing from various seasons. Bochy was looking for some sign of trouble in his slumping star's mechanics but couldn't find a glaring issue.
Posey's slumps can be baffling for the coaching staff. They also can end with one smooth swing of the bat.
Posey came into the game in a 1-for-24 skid but hit a 427-foot homer to left-center with a runner on in the first inning and later showed off the rest of his MVP game while leading the Giants to a 4-3 win that snapped a three-game skid.
"He covered all the facets of his game and of being a good catcher," said Tim Lincecum, Sunday's winning pitcher. "That's what you look for from him, and he did it again today."
Lincecum carried a heavy load, too, giving up three runs and striking out seven over six innings to pick up his first win of the season. Angel Pagan added a two-run single in the second as the Giants exceeded their run total from the previous three games. The final box score didn't show all that much improvement at the plate -- the Giants had just three hits -- but Bochy counted a half-dozen hard-hit balls that found gloves, and the Padres added a collection of highlight catches in the outfield.
"I thought we were kicking tail today, I did," Bochy said. "I looked up in the seventh and saw three hits and went, 'Geez!' We did hit some balls hard."
While those breaks didn't go the Giants' way, they made their own luck on two crucial plays.
The first came in the third inning, with Lincecum searching for a way out of a jam. A pair of two-out singles and a walk loaded the bases for Chase Headley, who roped a fastball into the right field corner. Two runs scored easily, and Xavier Nady raced around from first as Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt came up with perfect relay throws. Posey's athletic tag brushed Nady's back, but the former Giant was initially ruled safe. As coach Shawon Dunston checked the replay back in the clubhouse, Bochy walked to the plate to consult with his catcher.
"Buster said he tagged him," Bochy said. "With where (Nady) was, he had to be out."
It took 88 seconds for umpires to determine the same thing. The Giants were out of the inning, as a run was taken off the board.
"That inning could still be going on," Lincecum said, smiling. "If you think about it, we could have a tie game right now. Thank God for (that replay). I'm just glad we were able to get an out right there -- that was huge."
The Giants lost a one-run game to the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this season when a blown call at the plate couldn't be reviewed because Bochy was out of challenges. That was the only review he's lost this season in four tries.
"I like replay, and obviously it changed the game today," Bochy said. "It helped us win the game by getting it right."
The Giants had a two-run lead after the review, and Posey halted another potential rally by throwing out Everth Cabrera in the fifth after the speedy shortstop hit a leadoff single and attempted to steal second. Posey has thrown out a major league-best eight runners this season, and Bochy said Sunday's throw was the best yet.
"That one came out pretty good," Posey said.
Nick Hundley's homer knocked Lincecum out of the game in the seventh, but four Giants relievers kept the Padres off the board. Sergio Romo allowed the tying run to reach second in the ninth, but he got out of the jam to clinch his fifth save in 11 Giants wins. It was the ninth one-run game in the last 10 for the Giants. The only game that wasn't decided that way was a two-run loss Saturday.
"Unbelievable, man," Bochy said. "I've been on a few runs where you play tight games but never like this. It's incredible. A few more gray hairs, but it goes with the territory. That's who we are."