With hopes fading, Giants face struggling S.D.

September 12, 2011, 2:19 pm
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Sept. 12, 2011

SAN DIEGO (63-84) vs.
GIANTS (76-70)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- It may be too little, too late for the Giants, but another series with the San Diego Padres could help them string some wins together.

With their playoff hopes flickering, the reigning World Series champions look to build on their best offensive performance in more than a month Monday night when they face the Padres for the second series in a week.

The Giants (76-70) appear highly unlikely to reach the postseason, trailing NL West-leading Arizona by 8 12 games with 16 to go in the regular season, including three in Phoenix next week.

Their offense has been a major problem all year, as their 3.4 runs per game rank last in the majors and their .238 team average is among the lowest.

The bats managed to come up big Sunday, as San Francisco had six doubles among its 11 hits in an 8-1 win over the Dodgers. It was the Giants' highest run output since beating the Diamondbacks by the same score Aug. 3, and ended a three-game slide during which they'd batted .163 and totaled two runs.

REWIND: Offense awakens, Giants avoid sweep

"It seems to be starting a little late," said Aubrey Huff, who had two hits and two RBIs Sunday after totaling four hits and failing to drive in a run over his previous eight contests.

The Giants have won eight of their last 11 meetings with the similarly light-hitting Padres (63-84), who bat .239 as a team.

San Francisco took two of three at San Diego last week, but failed to complete the sweep with a 3-1 loss Wednesday as the offense sputtered against Aaron Harang.

Harang (13-5, 3.74 ERA) will take the mound again for the Padres in the opener of this three-game set after allowing one run and four hits in seven innings last week, improving to 4-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his last six starts versus San Francisco.

The right-hander is 6-1 in 10 road starts, but the loss came in the most recent outing Aug. 27, when he allowed three runs - two earned - in six innings of a 3-1 loss at Arizona.

The Padres have dropped 14 of 17 overall, but avoided a four-game sweep to Arizona by winning Sunday's series finale 7-6.

"We've got to stay positive," closer Heath Bell said. "We could have taken three out of four."

The Giants will give the ball to rookie left-hander Eric Surkamp (1-0, 3.27).

Surkamp, 24, earned his first career win last Tuesday, allowing three runs in five innings of a 6-4 win over the Padres hours after being recalled from Triple-A Fresno. The Giants have won both of his starts.

"It's fun," Surkamp said. "I'm up here, I'm new, it's awesome."

San Diego catcher Nick Hundley homered off Surkamp last week, and has six hits in his last three games. He went 3 for 4 Sunday, including a two-run homer.