sandoval bowI heard a lot of discussion today about how badly the Giants need this upcoming All Star Break. It’s true — times have been tough around San Francisco. But I don’t need to tell you that, right? You’ve all been watching.

Finally, though, the Giants and their fans got a little reprieve from the torture in the form of a 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.

It all started with yet another fantastic outing from Madison Bumgarner, who shook off a rough first inning in which the big lefty gave up three hits and two runs. All told, the first inning took almost 30 pitches to escape and found the Giants in another hole … except this one they’d escape from.

Bumgarner has at times been the lone bright spot in the Giants starting rotation, and starting in the second inning he continued the trend. He retired 14-straight before Carlos Quentin singled to left in the sixth inning. When he finally called it an evening, Bumgarner went 7.0 IP, allowing only four hits and two earned runs. He stuck out six and walked only one.

Meanwhile, the Giants bats got it going … kind of. They left 12 runners on base and went 4-for-15 with RISP, but it ended up being enough. Pablo Sandoval appeared to be swinging the bat a lot better coming into yesterday’s battle with Zack Wheeler and the Mets, but he finally found his power swing against Jason Marquis in the third when he took a front-footed hack and sent a home run bouncing off the wall into the stands. It cut the Padres’ lead to one, and the rest of the damage would have to come through some small ball.

Kensuke Tanaka was the man to deliver, hitting a line drive to center in the sixth to score Sandoval. Then, in the eighth, they took the lead again after Tanaka singled, stole second and scored on a Gregor Blanco ground-rule double. Posey padded it with a single to score Blanco and that’s where the score would stay after two solid innings of relief from Sandy Rosario and Sergio Romo.

Stolen RSGs

– How appropriate was it for Gregor “White Shark” Blanco to make things happen with a three-hit performance on the same night Sharknado was taking Twitter by storm?

– Madison Bumgarner recorded his tenth win of the season tonight. I don’t care how meaningless wins are — he deserves it, and so do we.

– I was a little nervous about how Romo would perform after his appearance on “The Murph and Mac Show” stirred the pot this morning. Nothing to worry about at all.

– This kid pretty much personifies what’s going on inside my head as I write this (via @carmenkiew):

– I’m not exactly sure how I feel about this celebration from Sandoval, but I guess it’s good to see the guys having fun again:

– Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten so used to negativity (and sorry for this Carmen), but Brandon Belt sure had a lot of trouble making things happen tonight. Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) created this hashtag for him…

… because It Always Comes Down To Belt. But while the troubled first baseman went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk, he also struck out swinging with the bases loaded in the 7th. I try to stay unbiased and let Belt develop, but it’s hard not to absorb the futility when he doesn’t produce.

– You guys remember these?