The surging San Francisco Giants look to continue to move closer to the wild-card leading San Diego Padres and win their sixth straight game over their NL West rivals for the first time in 11 years when their three-game series continues at AT&T Park on Saturday.
The Giants (71-70) defeated the Padres 4-0 on Friday behind starter Matt Cain, who allowed one hit in seven innings. With the win, San Francisco pulled within 2 1/2 games of San Diego (73-67) and one game of Philadelphia for the wild card.
After nearly falling out of the postseason picture by going a major league-worst 3-16 from July 23-Aug. 13, the Giants are a major league-best 17-7 since. They moved above .500 for the first time since July 26 with Friday’s victory.
“Mo Alou, wow, still hitting home runs,” joked manager Felipe Alou, Moises’ father. “We had some big hits today.”
The Giants have won five straight over the Padres for the second time this season, as they have won 10 of the last 11 games in the season series. They have not won six straight over San Diego since May 4-July 1, 1995.
San Francisco has also won seven of its last eight home games, and Jason Schmidt (11-8, 3.39 ERA) looks to continue his success at AT&T Park when he takes the mound on Saturday.
Schmidt has won his last three home decisions to improve to 7-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 14 starts at AT&T Park this season.
After going 1-5 with a 4.23 ERA in nine starts from June 11-July 28, Schmidt is 4-1 with a 4.06 ERA in his last seven outings.
He gave up three runs and eight hits in seven innings of a 7-4 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, rebounding from allowing eight runs—four earned— in a season-low 3 1-3 innings of a 13-8 loss to Atlanta on Aug. 29.
“It was a huge win for us, and it was good for Schmitty to bounce back after his last start,” Giants first baseman Shea Hillenbrand said. “He battled his (rear end) off and gave us a chance to put some runs on the board.”
Schmidt is 11-9 with a 4.76 ERA in 26 career starts against the Padres.
San Diego fell to 1 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead with Friday’s loss, which ended a five-game winning streak.
The Padres managed just two hits on Friday, and have a total of seven in their last two games.
David Wells (0-0, 1.50) looks for another strong effort when he makes his second start since returning to the Padres.
San Diego acquired Wells from Boston on Aug. 31, and he allowed one run and five hits in six innings but did not earn a decision in San Diego’s 2-1 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday.
“Today was special,” said the 43-year-old left-hander, who went 12-8 with a 3.73 ERA for the Padres in 2004. “I was locked in and wanted to show these guys that the old man can still do it.”
Wells had made only eight starts with the Red Sox this season after three stints on the disabled list due to right knee problems, but the Padres traded for him because of his ability to help during the stretch run. He is 21-9 with a 3.65 ERA in 40 September starts since 1998, and went 3-0 with a 4.19 ERA in six September outings for San Diego in 2004.
“I tell you, Boomer, he continues to amaze you,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “I mean, at his age, to be doing what he’s doing, he has a way of rising to the occasion, which he did today.”
Wells is 2-2 with a 4.05 ERA in six starts against the Giants in his 20-year career.
Hillenbrand is batting .429 (18-for-42) with five doubles in his career against Wells, while Omar Vizquel is just 7-for-58 (.121) against the Padres starter.