Giants-Padres Preview

The Associated Press

The San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants are likely headed toward losing seasons, but avoiding sole possession of the NL West basement may provide some motivation.

The Padres and Giants are looking to break the last-place tie Tuesday night at Petco Park.

It's highly unlikely San Francisco (61-76) will be defending its World Series crown next month, and San Diego (61-76) is all but assured of falling short of the playoffs for a seventh straight year.

They share last place in the division after the Padres took the opener of this three-game set 4-1 on Monday. San Diego won despite mustering four hits, but Ronny Cedeno and Chris Denorfia had two-out singles that produced a three-run second inning.

Going 2 for 4 with runners in scoring position was a welcome change for the Padres after they were 4 for 23 (.174) during a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.

"That was big," manager Bud Black told the team's official website of Denorfia's two-run single. "There's the time to get the big hit that has been eluding us lately, the real big hit to stretch a lead or take a lead. That's a little bit of what happened to us up at Dodger Stadium: We couldn't get that big hit."

Madison Bumgarner (11-9, 2.91 ERA) may sympathize with the Padres, as he's hopes for some help from the Giants in order to win for the first time since Aug. 2.

The left-hander is 0-3 with a 3.99 ERA over his last five starts, and the bats haven't done him any favors by backing him with seven total runs. He got one run of support Wednesday, when he labored through 104 pitches in 5 1-3 innings while allowing four runs in a 5-4 loss at Colorado.

"I feel like I have been through a tough stretch," Bumgarner said. "We talk about things like this and there is always the feeling that thing would come around."

Perhaps a meeting with the Padres can get him untracked.

Bumgarner is 6-1 with a 3.06 ERA over his last 10 starts against San Diego. He's been significantly helped over his last five visits to Petco Park, going 3-1 with a 3.73 ERA while the lineup has averaged 5.7 runs of support.

He earned a 4-2 win in his latest visit July 11, yielding two runs in seven innings.

Brandon Belt is giving San Francisco some offensive punch, hitting .366 in 11 games after getting an RBI double on one of his two hits Monday. He has a .354 average in 14 meetings with San Diego this year.

The Padres are scheduled to turn to Robbie Erlin (2-2, 5.97), who is looking to build on his best performance of the season in his first meeting with the Giants.

The 22-year-old rookie left-hander yielded one run in six innings of Wednesday's 5-1 win at Arizona, hours after being recalled from Triple-A Tucson.

That was a major improvement from his two previous outings for San Diego in July, losing both while surrendering 12 runs with seven walks in 7 2-3 innings.

"It just comes down to executing," Erlin said. "Executing gets outs. I really just try to keep it simple, throw strikes."

That seems to be working at home, where Erlin is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts.

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