San Diego (59-92) at San Francisco (93-57)

Partly Cloudy Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 3:35 pm EDT Thu Sep 18, 2003
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Fresh off clinching the NL West, the San Francisco Giants will try to remain sharp as they complete a four-game series with the visiting San Diego Padres.

The Giants, who have not spent a day out of first place all season, captured the division title with Wednesday’s 8-3 victory, coupled with the Dodgers’ 2-0 loss to Arizona.

With their win on opening day, the defending NL champions became just the ninth wire-to-wire winner of a division or pennant in baseball history. However, the last three—Baltimore in 1997, Cleveland in 1998 and Seattle in 2001—failed to reach the World Series.

Andres Galarraga and Marquis Grissom each hit two-run homers, and Barry Bonds went 1-for-4 with an RBI as the Giants earned a playoff berth for the third time in four seasons.

San Francisco, which last took the NL West crown in 2000, has won four in a row and seven of nine.

The Giants now hope Sidney Ponson can get hot heading into the postseason.

Acquired from Baltimore on July 31, the 26-year-old right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA in his last two starts after winning his previous three with a 1.27 ERA.

In a 5-4 home loss to Milwaukee on Saturday, Ponson allowed four runs and five hits in six innings.

“I’m not happy at all,” said Ponson, who was 14-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 21 starts for the Orioles. “It’s not time to get into a funk. I came here to win. I want to win.”

Ponson is 7-2 with a 2.97 ERA in 10 day starts this season.

The Padres, who blew an early three-run lead Wednesday, have dropped six in a row.

Mark Loretta homered for San Diego, and is batting .414 (12-for-29) with two homers and five RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.

STANDINGS: Padres - 5th place, 34 1/2 GB, NL West. Giants - 1st place, NL West.

PADRES PROBABLE STARTER: Jake Peavy (11-11, 4.21 ERA). After winning his previous two starts with a 1.50 ERA, Peavy gave up three runs and seven hits over four innings in a 4-0 loss at Los Angeles on Saturday. The 22-year-old right-hander is 1-2 with an 8.44 ERA in three starts against the Giants this season. In four career starts against San Francisco, Peavy is 2-2 with a 6.86 ERA.

GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Ponson (3-4, 3.38 ERA). The Giants are 3-5 in Ponson’s starts.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Padres - Loretta, .324 avg.; Ryan Klesko, 21 HRs; Brian Giles, 79 RBIs and 81 runs; Gary Matthews Jr., 12 SBs. Giants - Bonds, .340 avg., 43 HRs, 86 RBIs and 105 runs; Eric Young, 25 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Giants, 14-4.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Padres - 2B Loretta has two homers and eight RBIs against the Giants this season. … The Padres have the second-fewest homers in the NL (116) behind the Dodgers (114). … C Humberto Quintero, recalled from Double-A Mobile earlier in the month, with 1-for-3 with an RBI Wednesday. Giants - RHP Ponson has faced four current San Diego players in his career, holding them to just one RBI. … The Giants have lost just seven of their 34 home games since the All-Star break. … LF Bonds is 3-for-7 (.429) against RHP Peavy with two homers, three RBIs and five walks.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Padres - 27-50 on the road; Giants - 54-22 at home.

INJURIES: Padres - INF Klesko (shoulder), 15-day DL. Giants - RHP Jesse Foppert (arm), 15-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Peavy SF vs. S. Ponson KC
12-11 Record 17-12
4.11 ERA 3.75
156 K 134
82 BB 61
1.31 WHIP 1.26