Blue Jays-Padres Preview

The Associated Press

The San Diego Padres haven't had much help from the rotation during their recent rough stretch, though Jason Marquis has been their most consistent starter the past month.

The right-hander will try to win for the sixth time in seven starts on Friday night when the Padres host a Toronto Blue Jays team that has struggled on the road.

After splitting its four-game season series with Seattle, San Diego (24-29) looks to even its season record at 5-5 versus AL opponents with its third win in four games.

Thursday's loser Andrew Cashner allowed four runs and seven hits - three homers - over six innings in a 7-1 loss to the Mariners, leaving San Diego starters with a 5.72 ERA during the team's 3-6 stretch.

"I have to be better than that,'' Cashner said.

The Padres are hoping for better results with Marquis (6-2, 3.70 ERA) on the mound as they open this three-game series.

Marquis had settled into a groove while winning five consecutive outings before leaving without a decision Sunday in his shortest stint since May 20, 2012. He allowed four runs and seven hits in 3 1-3 innings in a 6-5 loss at Arizona.

The sinkerballer continues to labor with his command, walking four for the third straight start to raise his total to 32 - among the most in the major leagues.

"There were some positives and some negatives,'' said Marquis. "Obviously, I would like to go deeper. I just wasn't executing."

Marquis is 1-2 with a 6.19 ERA in three career starts against the Blue Jays, allowing six runs and seven hits over four innings in a 6-2 loss while with Minnesota on May 10, 2012.

Edwin Encarnacion should be happy seeing Marquis again, since he's 9 for 18 with two homers against him. He's also 10 for 20 with two homers in his last five road games, but has hit .178 in 11 career games at Petco Park.

Teammate Jose Bautista is batting .439 with three homers over his last 10 games, though he's hitting .163 lifetime in San Diego and is 4 for 17 versus Marquis.

The Blue Jays lost for the 13th time in 19 road contests and ended up with a split of their four-game series against Atlanta with an 11-3 defeat Thursday.

"There are some positives that I want to take out of tonight even though it was a tough loss for us and even though it was a tough loss for me personally,'' said starter R.A. Dickey, who fell to 4-7.

While Toronto starters have a 5.42 ERA over those 19 road games, Chad Jenkins (1-0, 3.60) looks to reverse that trend as the team continues a seven-game road trip against NL opponents.

After missing the first month of the season with shoulder inflammation, the right-hander has gone five innings and allowed four runs and 15 hits in a pair of Toronto victories.

Jenkins, who has never faced the Padres, will try to keep San Diego's bats quiet after the team was held to 10 runs and a .209 batting average in four games against the Mariners.

Although he's hit safely in four straight games, Chase Headley is hitting .178 with one homer over his last 12 as his average has dropped 37 points to .259. In his lone series against Toronto in 2010, Headley went 0 for 11 over three games.

The Blue Jays have won four of six all-time meetings.

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