Programming note: Padres-Giants coverage starts tonight at 6:30 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
The San Francisco Giants took advantage of a last-place opponent to earn badly needed back-to-back victories. They'll try to grow that winning streak whey they face another lowly opponent.
The Giants got a stellar starting pitching performance in their last game, and they badly want another one with struggling Matt Cain taking the mound against the visiting San Diego Padres on Monday night.
First-place San Francisco (45-30) had lost six straight and was 1-9 in its previous 10 after losing to Arizona on Friday, but rebounded to win the last two games of the set. Madison Bumgarner led the Giants on Sunday, allowing two infield singles in eight-plus innings of a 4-1 victory.
"It was time for us to start working our way out of this," Bumgarner said. "Everybody's still been in good spirits, a good attitude, so that's a big series to win for us."
Cain (1-5, 4.52) has an opportunity to build on the positive end to a 2-3 road trip as San Francisco begins a 10-game homestand, but the right-hander is winless in his last four starts and was pounded in his latest one. He gave up eight runs and 10 hits along with two home runs in an 8-2 road loss to the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.
With 11 homers allowed, he's on pace to surpass his career high of 23 given up last season, and his ERA is the highest of his career.
After the last outing, Cain said his focus would be on his command.
"The biggest thing is just location," he told the team's official website.
The Padres (32-44) are just ahead of the Diamondbacks in the NL West, but Cain has had some problems earning wins against San Diego despite some outstanding efforts. He's 7-12 with a 3.04 ERA in 32 career starts in the series, and just 2-2 in the past six despite a 1.28 ERA in that span.
The most recent matchup came April 18, when Cain went seven innings and gave up one unearned run but was the hard-luck loser in a 2-1 road defeat.
San Diego has returned to its losing ways after a three-game winning streak, dropping the final two to the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend. The Padres fell 2-1 on Sunday soon after general manager Josh Byrnes was fired.
"We were led to believe ... the addition of certain players during the offseason, that would put us over the top," Padres President and CEO Mike Dee said of the dismissal. "We felt confident that we would be in a position to compete for postseason baseball."
San Diego dropped to 6-14 in June, and now turns to Odrisamer Despaigne, who will make his major league debut.
Despaigne, who gets the call with Andrew Cashner being scratched, is in his first year of playing baseball in America after playing his last eight in Cuba. The Cuban right-hander went 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in seven starts between Double and Triple-A.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley (back) missed his fourth straight contest Sunday.
San Diego right fielder Chris Denorfia, who went 2 for 3 with an RBI on Sunday, is 5 for 13 with a triple and a double off Cain.