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Padres-Diamondbacks Preview

Neither the San Diego Padres' offense nor pitching staff has met their lofty preseason expectations, but every so often their potential shines through.

After an impressive performance, the Padres look to win their first series in over two weeks Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

San Diego (34-37) notched its second-highest run total this month with Saturday's 8-1 victory, as Melvin Upton Jr. and Derek Norris homered in support of Tyson Ross, who tossed a four-hitter with nine strikeouts.

It was a welcome change of pace for the Padres, whose 4.12 team ERA ranks toward the bottom of baseball and 4.2 runs per game sits outside of the top 10.

"(Ross) was attacking. He was going right at them," manager Pat Murphy said. "It was a great team effort."

Murphy's team has lost five of seven and seeks its first series win since taking two of three at Cincinnati June 5-7.

Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.24 ERA) will try to follow Ross' stellar effort and record his first win this month. The right-hander is 0-1 with a 7.77 ERA in four June starts since his last victory May 27.

He allowed five runs, five hits and three walks over five-plus innings before leaving without a decision in Tuesday's 6-5 loss to Oakland. Cashner has walked 12 and struck out six in his past three outings after fanning a career-best 12 against the New York Mets on June 1.

Cashner lost to Arizona (33-35) in each of his two meetings this season despite pitching well both times. He has a 1.38 ERA against the Diamondbacks, but fell victim to home runs from A.J. Pollock and Aaron Hill in a 2-1 loss on May 10.

Arizona has alternated wins and losses in its last six games, a trend it hopes to continue in the finale after Saturday's defeat.

The Diamondbacks have totaled 10 runs in their last five games, with Pollock going 2 for 18 during that span. Even Paul Goldschmidt, who leads the majors with a .358 average, has cooled, going 4 for 16.

He's 5 for 14 against Cashner with a home run.

Jeremy Hellickson (4-4, 5.10) takes the mound for Arizona with quality starts in five of his last six outings. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits over six innings in a 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

Hellickson hasn't fared well at all in three career starts against the Padres, going 0-1 with an 8.00 ERA.

Will Middlebrooks hasn't enjoyed any of that success, though. He's 2 for 15 with nine strikeouts against Hellickson.

Arizona's Yasmany Tomas did not start after being hit in the elbow with a pitch Friday night, but did pinch hit late in the game.

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