San Francisco Giants (23-18) at San Diego Padres (17-23)
Wednesday, May 18 - 10:10 PM EST
Petco Park, San Diego, California
The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in the last three even-numbered years and are showing signs that the trend may continue in 2016 as they visit the San Diego Padres on Wednesday in the middle contest of their three-game series. San Francisco extended its season-high winning streak to six games and its record versus San Diego to 4-0 this season with a 5-1 victory Tuesday as the starting rotation lowered its ERA to 1.80 over the last 11 contests.
Brandon Crawford drove in all the runs Tuesday — highlighted by a three-run homer — and has knocked in the last six for the Giants (23-18), including what proved to be the winning run in Sunday's 2-1 victory in Arizona. The Padres (17-23) dropped three of their last four games and have been shut out nine times while scoring two or fewer runs in 18 of 40 games this season, and are batting a major league-worst .230. Right fielder Matt Kemp is 6-for-42 over his last 10 games after belting a solo home run in the ninth inning Tuesday to see his average drop 39 points to .250. The Giants' Johnny Cueto and the Padres' Drew Pomeranz square off in a matchup of pitchers excelling in their first seasons with their new teams.
TV: 10:10 p.m. ET, CSN Bay Area (San Francisco), FSN San Diego
PITCHING MATCHUP: Giants RH Johnny Cueto (5-1, 2.97 ERA) vs. Padres LH Drew Pomeranz (4-3, 1.80)
Cueto allowed two runs and eight hits while striking out nine in seven innings of a 4-2 victory in Arizona on Thursday for his sixth quality start in eight turns this season. ''He's been so consistent and done a great job of giving us quality innings,'' San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. ''He's fun to watch." Alexei Ramirez is 9-for-14 with a home run and Jon Jay is 13-for-33 with three homers and seven RBIs versus Cueto, who is 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA in nine starts versus San Diego after pitching a seven-hitter while striking out a season-high 11 in a 1-0 victory over the Padres on April 26.
Pomeranz matched a season and career high with 10 strikeouts while yielding three hits and three walks in six innings of a 1-0 victory over the Cubs in Chicago last Wednesday to run his consecutive scoreless innings streak to 15. ''In pro ball, this is the best I've ever felt,'' the 27-year-old Tennessee native told reporters. ''I felt strong and I was almost getting better as the game went along. That's a positive for me. Early in my career, I'd kind of burn out early and taper off.'' Buster Posey is 5-for-8 with two home runs versus Pomeranz, who is 1-3 with a 6.08 ERA in seven games (five starts) versus the Giants after allowing four runs (three earned), seven hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings of a 5-4 loss in San Francisco on April 25.
1. Giants 1B Brandon Belt went 2-for-4 with a run scored Tuesday and matched his career high by reaching base safely in his 24th consecutive game.
2. Kemp has 20 home runs, 79 RBIs and 88 runs against the Giants — all most among active players. The 20 homers are tied with the Dodgers' Adrian Gonzalez.
3. San Francisco has left 303 runners on base, second-most in the majors to Pittsburgh's 314.
PREDICTION: Giants 3, Padres 2