MLB

Giants-Padres Preview

The San Francisco Giants are one of the best offensive teams in the majors but they've been particularly impressive of late.

James Shields experienced that himself recently.

The Giants will try to get the best of Shields again as they go for an eighth win in nine tries Wednesday against the San Diego Padres.

San Francisco (50-44) is fourth in the majors with a .271 average but is hitting .330 with nine homers and averaging 6.8 runs over the last eight games.

The Giants connected for three homers to back Chris Heston's 7 1-3 scoreless innings in a 9-3 win Tuesday that ended San Diego's season-high five-game winning streak.

The Padres (44-50) are looking for Shields (8-3, 3.92 ERA) to slow down San Francisco. However, he had his worst performance of the season in a 13-8 loss to the NL West rival on June 25, giving up seven runs and nine hits in four-plus innings.

He allowed one run in 16 innings while winning his two prior matchups, including a 10-2 victory at Petco Park on April 11.

Shields is 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in his last six home starts. The right-hander yielded one run and seven hits with six strikeouts and four walks in five innings of Friday's 4-2 win over Colorado. He had been 0-3 with a 4.79 ERA over his previous seven starts overall.

"I didn't have my best stuff," Shields said. "It was one of those games we had to grind it out. I made pitches when I needed to and I got out of jams when I needed to."

The Giants will counter with Matt Cain (1-1, 5.06), who hopes to show some consistency in his fourth start after being out a year recovering from elbow surgery and a forearm flexor strain.

He struck out seven in six innings of a 3-0 win over the New York Mets on July 7, but returned from the All-Star break to allow four runs and eight hits in five innings in a 6-5 win in 12 at Arizona on Friday.

"I don't know exactly where I am right now," Cain said. "I've been around, but I've never missed the first half of the season. I don't want to give myself that leeway, but it kind of is the first month for me. I can't think about it that way. I've got to worry about pitching and getting guys out, making really good pitches and limiting the big mistakes, go about it that way."

Cain has a 2.04 ERA over his last 10 starts at Petco but he's 3-5 since he was backed by one run or fewer in six games. He got no help at all while losing all three meetings with the Padres last year, including two on the road with a 1.35 ERA.

Hector Sanchez may get another start in place of All-Star catcher Buster Posey after hitting a grand slam Tuesday.

Posey is 1 for 10 versus Shields but 14 for 29 (.483) with seven RBIs in his last seven games. His 38 RBIs on the road lead the majors and he's a .336 hitter at Petco.

The Padres could use a bounce-back performance from Matt Kemp, who went 0 for 2 Tuesday after going 14 for 31 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his previous eight games.

He's 4 for 13 with three homers and a double off Cain the past two years.

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