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Pablo Sandoval is back – and just in time for the playoffs. The San Francisco Giants third baseman has three home runs in his last two games, helping his team trim its magic number for clinching the National League West to three. Sandoval was homerless in his previous 161 at-bats before slugging a three-run shot on Wednesday. The Giants hope Sandoval’s resurgence continues during a three-game series against the San Diego Padres, who have won 10 of their last 14. The Giants lead the season series 8-4, and the teams are scheduled to play six of their next nine games against each other. Ryan Vogelsong gets the start in the series opener, and the Giants are hoping he follows Sandoval’s lead and snaps an extended slump.
San Diego left fielder Carlos Quentin missed Thursday’s game with soreness in his right knee and will likely be listed as day-to-day for the rest of the season. Center fielder Cameron Maybin missed two games with soreness in his left Achilles tendon, but he was back in the starting lineup on Thursday. The Giants are hopeful that Gregor Blanco’s recent surge is a sign of things to come. The speedy left fielder is hitting .355 (11-for-31) with three doubles and a triple in his last 10 games. After a strong first half, Blanco struggled after the All-Star break and is batting .244 overall. Blanco is sharing time in left field with Xavier Nady and Justin Christian, who is 1-for-his-last-40 and hitless in his last 25 at-bats.
Padres Giants Betting
When: 10:15 PM ET, Friday, September 21, 2012
Where: AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, Fox Sports SD (San Diego), CSNBA (San Francisco)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Padres RH Casey Kelly (2-1, 5.85 ERA) vs. Giants RH Ryan Vogelsong (12-9, 3.65)
Kelly’s start was moved up a day after the Padres shut down Andrew Cashner (injured tendon) for the rest of the season. Kelly allowed three runs (two earned) in six-plus innings against Colorado last Saturday, and he hasn’t walked a batter in his last two starts covering 8 1/3 innings. A 2008 first-round pick by the Red Sox, Kelly is set to make his fifth career start.
The Giants are hoping Vogelsong returns to form after going 0-2 with a 12.34 ERA in his previous three starts while surrendering 20 hits in 11 2/3 innings over that span. He allowed seven runs (six earned) on over 3 1/3 innings last Sunday against the Diamondbacks, and his ERA has climbed from 2.27 to 3.65 since Aug. 8. He’s 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts against San Diego this season.
1. The Padres activated closer Huston Street from the disabled list after he missed the last six weeks with a left calf strain.
2. Giants RHP Sergio Romo has allowed only nine hits in 50 at-bats with runners in scoring position (.180).
3. With 105 RBI, 3B Chase Headley has recorded the 18th 100-RBI season in Padres history