Chicago (78-73) at San Francisco (82-70)

Partly Cloudy Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 10:15 pm EDT Thu Sep 24, 2009
  • TV: CSN, CSBA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The San Francisco Giants are trying to make one final drive toward the postseason. Pushing the Chicago Cubs closer to elimination would be a good start.

Trailing by four games for the NL wild card, the Giants open a four-game home series with the Cubs on Thursday night.

San Francisco (82-70) helped its chances with Wednesday night’s 5-2 victory in Arizona, which followed wild card-leader Colorado’s 6-3 loss to San Diego. Juan Uribe(notes) homered and drove in three runs to help the Giants to their sixth victory in 10 games.

“We’re still breathing. There’s still hope. We got a little help,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re running out of games, we know it. Right now we need to win ballgames. That’s where we’re at.”

Following a 3-3 road trip, San Francisco will play its next seven at AT&T Park, where it has an NL-best .658 winning percentage this season. With a victory Thursday, the Giants would pass the Dodgers for the most home wins in that league at 49-26. New York and Boston lead the majors with 52 home victories.

San Francisco will try to reach that mark and keep the pressure on the Rockies by helping Brad Penny(notes) (3-1, 4.01 ERA) rebound from his first loss with the team.

Penny had won three straight after signing a minor league contract with the Giants on Aug. 31, but was tagged for seven runs and five hits over 2 2-3 innings in Saturday’s 12-1 loss in Los Angeles.

“He’s been as good as you can be the first three starts and he had an off day,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He was a pitch away from getting out of the first, but he made a mistake. It’s going to happen.”

The Cubs (78-73) will counter with Ryan Dempster(notes) (10-8, 3.72), who pitched against Penny’s Dodgers in last year’s division series opener.

Dempster and Chicago are all but assured of missing this year’s playoffs with a 7 1/2-game deficit in the wild-card race. A loss Thursday would also give St. Louis the NL Central title.

Dempster will try to spoil the Cardinals’ party by earning his third straight win and second in a row over the Giants. The right-hander, who has allowed one over his last 16 innings, gave up two runs and five hits over seven May 4 in his first win as a starter against San Francisco.

Before that victory, he was 0-7 with a 5.13 ERA in nine previous matchups as a starter.

After scoring at least six runs in three straight wins, the Cubs could only manage a home run from starter Jeff Samardzija(notes) and Bobby Scales’(notes) RBI double in Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss in Milwaukee.

The Cubs also moved closer to putting Milton Bradley(notes) behind them. The volatile outfielder, who was suspended for the season Sunday, apologized to the team and said he would not appeal his suspension.

After signing a three-year deal worth $30 million, Bradley hit .257 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 124 games. He may not return next season.

“I wish that I handled certain things differently,” Bradley said. “And I apologize for those things that did not work out for the better.”

The teams have split their last 10 meetings in San Francisco and halved a four-game series June 30-July 3 at AT&T Park last season.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Dempster Bos vs. B. Penny Mia
11-9 Record 11-9
3.65 ERA 4.88
172 K 109
65 BB 51
1.31 WHIP 1.40

Scoreboard

Thursday, Sep 24