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Giants hope to keep bats hot versus Padres

Sep 13, 2011 - 2:55 PM (Sports Network) - Runs haven't been hard to come by lately for the playoff- desperate San Francisco Giants and they will try for a third straight win tonight in the middle test of a three-game series versus the San Diego Padres.

The Giants salvaged the finale of a three-game set with Los Angeles thanks to an 8-1 win on Sunday, then handed San Diego an 8-3 defeat in last night's series opener from AT&T Park. Cody Ross, Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Beltran all belted home runs, while Ross finished with three hits and three runs scored.

Rookie Eric Surkamp improved to 2-0 and allowed three runs -- two earned -- and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. Four relievers then held the Padres off the scoreboard the rest of the way for the defending World Series champion Giants, who are still 8 1/2 games behind Arizona for the NL West lead and won for the sixth time in the previous 14 contests.

"Maybe I'm a good-luck charm," Surkamp said on the club's site. "I'm just happy they have confidence in me going out there at this time of the year."

San Francisco hasn't won three straight since July 17-19.

Matt Cain shoots for a measure of revenge against the Padres when he takes the mound this evening. In last Wednesday's 3-1 loss at San Diego, Cain pitched well enough for the win but was suffered defeat with seven innings of two-run ball. He struck out seven batters, the most since he fanned nine on Aug. 17 at Atlanta. The loss dropped Cain to 11-10 in 30 starts with a 2.84 ERA.

Cain, a right-hander, is 2-4 in his last six decisions and hasn't enjoyed much success in his career against the Padres, going 5-11 with a 3.47 ERA in 27 starts. Cain is 6-5 in 15 home starts this season.

The Padres lost for the 15th time in their last 18 tries and received a poor outing from reliable starter Aaron Harang last night. Harang allowed four runs and six hits, including two homers, in five innings of work to fall to 13-6 on the season. Drew Carpenter served up Sandoval's three-run homer during a four- run seventh inning.

"I couldn't get in a groove. Just felt off there that first inning," Harang told San Diego's website. "And then the third inning, the same thing. I kind of went out there, I think I was rushing a little bit and just couldn't get everything locked down like I wanted to."

Nick Hundley and Chris Denorfia each finished with three hits for the Padres, who lost three of four games in Arizona prior to this series. Hundley hasn't fared too well in his career against Cain, going 1-for-12.

San Diego will send Cory Luebke to the mound this evening and he has lost three straight starts, including Thursday's 4-1 setback at Arizona in which he yielded a pair of runs in 5 2/3 innings of work. The loss dropped the lefty to 5-9 with a 3.28 ERA in 43 games (14 starts) this season.

Luebke had never faced the Giants before this season and is 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA in three games (2 starts) against them. He is 2-5 in 21 games (7 starts) on the road this season.

San Francisco is 10-6 against San Diego this season and has won four of the past five meetings between the teams.