Gerrit Cole may like his chances of finally earning his first win in his third attempt.
The Southern California native has won five straight road outings against NL West foes and looks to help the Pittsburgh Pirates avoid a three-game sweep by the San Diego Padres on Thursday night.
Cole (0-2, 4.22 ERA) is from up the coast in Newport Beach and has yet to receive a single run of support in his first two starts, giving up two runs in six innings in last Thursday's 7-4 defeat to Detroit.
The right-hander has posted a 2.14 ERA in winning his last five starts on the road versus the West. He's 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA in three starts against the Padres, who he did not face last season.
Cole has some history facing former Cardinal Jon Jay, who is 3 for 11 in this matchup. No other hitter for San Diego (6-9) has more than four at-bats off him.
Jay is 5 for 8 in this series for the Padres, who cruised to an 8-2 rout Wednesday. They've scored 13 runs in the last two games after totaling 11 in the previous six.
''I think everything was solid,'' said right fielder Matt Kemp, who homered for the second time in four games. ''We've had a couple of good wins but I think this by far was the best one we've had. We need to have more of those. That would be nice.''
Pirates star Andrew McCutchen is hitting .237 with one hit in 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position to go along with seven walks. He was fifth in the majors with a .361 average in 2015 with runners in scoring position.
"I'm not assessing it too much," McCutchen told MLB's official website. "Just taking it at-bat by at-bat. ... I'm going to go out, keep doing what I've been doing, keep working and all those at-bats will come together."
Shortstop Jordy Mercer is 5 for 8 in this series for Pittsburgh, which is 4 for 23 with runners in scoring position in the first two games.
The Pirates (7-8) have struck out 11 times each night to mark the first time they have finished in double digits in consecutive games. Now they face a pitcher who tied for ninth in the majors a year ago with 216 strikeouts.
James Shields (0-2, 4.05) hasn't been quite as effective in that department so far this season with 14 strikeouts in 20 innings with the Padres losing all three of his starts. The right-hander has received a total of five runs of support, surrendering two runs in seven innings in Friday's no-decision in a 3-2 loss to Arizona.
Shields faced the Pirates for the first time last year, posting a 1.38 ERA in two no-decisions. Sean Rodriguez is hitless in eight at-bats against him, John Jaso is 0 for 7 and McCutchen has a double in four at-bats.
Jaso is batting .421 during a career-high, 10-game hitting streak. He should be back in the lineup after not starting Wednesday since San Diego started left-hander Drew Pomeranz.
The Padres' last three-game sweep of the Pirates was at home from Aug. 20-22, 2012.