The last time the San Diego Padres faced the San Francisco Giants, they were no-hit by Tim Lincecum.
They'll open a three-game home series in better spirits Friday night as they try for a season-best fifth straight win against one of the other mainstays in the San Francisco rotation that's struggled a bit more in recent weeks.
San Diego, however, will counter with baseball's pitcher with the longest active streak of consecutive appearances with a loss.
The Padres (38-47) matched a season-best winning streak with Wednesday's 3-0 victory over Cincinnati. Despite continued offensive struggles, they've won nine of 14 with an MLB-best 1.66 ERA. The bullpen has allowed two runs in 33 2-3 innings in that span.
The Giants (47-38) have gone the other way with a league-worst 5-17 record since June 9 after Thursday's 7-2 loss to St. Louis. It ended a 2-8 homestand, though help could be on the way with Brandon Belt being activated for this series. The first baseman has missed 49 games with a broken thumb.
"It's not going to do anything but help us," Madison Bumgarner said.
Matt Cain ended a three-start losing streak his last time out with one of his best outings of the season, limiting Cincinnati to six hits in seven scoreless innings of Saturday's 7-3 victory. Cain (1-6, 4.38 ERA) didn't earn the decision and has gone winless in six straight starts for the second time this season.
Despite the strong outing, he'll be happy to turn the page on the calendar after completing a June in which he went 0-3 with a 5.46 ERA in five starts.
"It's a long season; it's going to happen," Cain told MLB's official website. "You have to be resilient. I think (how we respond) is going to show what kind of team we have. We know the guys we have in here are able to do that."
The right-hander struggled greatly in his last start against the Padres - a 6-0 loss on June 23 in which he allowed six runs in 7 1-3 innings - but he's pitched better than his record in San Diego (4-7) shows with a 2.29 ERA and .194 opponent batting average.
He's held Seth Smith to 3 for 32 lifetime while Carlos Quentin (2 for 20) and Alexi Amarista (0 for 12) have also struggled.
Cain will be opposed by Eric Stults, whose June was even gloomier. Stults (2-11, 5.36) lost all six of his starts in the month with a 6.16 ERA. His loss total is the highest in baseball while his ERA and .308 opponent average are the worst in the NL.
Despite the continued losing streak, things have actually improved as the left-hander has allowed four earned runs in 12 1-3 innings over his last two starts.
"I felt like overall my stuff, the last three or four starts, has started to improve," Stults said. "Where I'm at now as opposed to where I was my first five to seven starts, I feel like there's been significant improvement."
The constant aside from the losses has been terrible offensive help with the Padres supplying a 1.76 run-support average during the losing streak for Stults.
Like Cain, he'll be making his third start in the season series. He split the first two and is 7-5 with a 5.31 ERA in 17 starts against San Francisco.
Pablo Sandoval is 12 for 25 versus Stults while Buster Posey is 8 for 18 with two home runs and Hunter Pence is 9 for 30 with three homers.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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