If his last start is any indication, Kirk Rueter is back at full strength.
The left-hander will try to build on his first win in over three months as the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants open a four-game series with the San Diego Padres—a team he has dominated throughout his career.
Rueter is 11-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 22 starts against the Padres. The 11 wins are his most against any opponent.
“He’s always tough on us,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said of Rueter.
Making his fourth start since returning from a shoulder injury on Aug. 24, Rueter allowed one run and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 7-1 victory at San Diego on Wednesday. The 32-year-old southpaw snapped a personal 10-game winless streak during which he was 0-4 with a 7.74 ERA.
It was his first victory since June 6 at Detroit.
“I just wanted to get back to where I was before I went on the DL,” said Rueter, who had won five in a row before the extended slide.
“It’s almost like I’m going through spring training again. I felt like I belonged out there. It was a step in the right direction.”
The Giants have won Rueter’s three starts against San Diego this year, with the 11-year veteran going 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA.
San Francisco has also taken all five series from the Padres this season, winning 11 of 15 meetings.
The Giants took two of three over the weekend against visiting Milwaukee.
Utility outfielder Todd Linden had a bases-loaded single in the 11th inning to lift the Giants to a 5-4 win Sunday.
“As a bench player, we all feel like part of the team, but when you contribute, you feel less like an outsider,” Linden said.
The Giants have won 10 of 14 overall, reducing their magic number for clinching the West to 5.
The Padres finally managed to score in the finale of their three-game series at Los Angeles, but were swept with Sunday’s 5-2 defeat.
San Diego, which went scoreless in the first two games, was outscored 15-2 in the three contests. Sean Burroughs and Brian Giles each homered Sunday as the Padres lost for the seventh time in nine games.
STANDINGS: Padres - 5th place, 31 1/2 GB, NL West. Giants - 1st place, NL West.
PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Brian Lawrence (8-15, 4.37 ERA). Lawrence had his season-high three-game win streak snapped in Wednesday’s loss to Rueter and the Giants. The right-hander gave up five runs and nine hits over six innings. It was his first loss since Aug. 5 against the Chicago Cubs. He was 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA over his previous five starts. Lawrence, who is tied with Pittsburgh’s Jeff D’Amico and Cincinnati’s Danny Graves with an NL-high 15 losses, is 0-3 all-time against the Giants with a 4.45 ERA in seven games, including five starts. In three starts against them this year, he is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Rueter (8-5, 4.82 ERA). Five of Rueter’s eight victories this season have come at home. He has limited the Padres to a .194 batting average this year.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Padres - Mark Loretta, .321 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 21 HRs; Giles, 77 RBIs and 81 runs; Gary Matthews Jr., 12 SBs. Giants - Bonds, .341 avg., 41 HRs, 83 RBIs and 102 runs; Eric Young, 25 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Giants, 11-4.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Padres - The Padres avoided being shut out in three straight games for the first time since July 1976, when they were blanked in three in a row by the Cubs. … The Padres have been swept 10 times this year. … 3B Burroughs last homered in Arizona on July 10, ending a drought of 179 at-bats. Giants - LF Bonds trails only Rickey Henderson, who has 2,190 career walks. … San Francisco is 27-11 in one-run games—tops in the majors. … The Giants’ 51-22 home mark is the best in the NL.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Padres - 27-47 on the road; Giants - 51-22 at home.