Pablo Sandoval has been on a tear at the perfect time for the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants, whose magic number to clinch a second division title in three years is now two.
Sandoval and the Giants look to move closer to that achievement tonight in the second portion of a three-game series versus the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park. In Friday's 5-1 win over the division-rival Padres, Sandoval went 3- for-3 with a two-run home run. He has homered in three straight games (4 total) with nine RBI in that time. Sandoval also is riding a five-game hitting streak with four straight multi-hit efforts.
"I've been seeing the ball well," Sandoval said afterward. "I'm not going to lie to you."
Ryan Vogelsong got back into the win column with six innings of one-run ball for the Giants, who have won five straight and nine of 10 games. San Francisco is unbeaten in its last six games at home and was coming off a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies.
The Giants are scheduled to host Arizona for three games on the current homestand. In other team news, it was announced Friday that suspended Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera has been removed from consideration for the National League batting title. Cabrera, who is serving a 50-game penalty for testing positive for testosterone, requested that his name be removed from consideration for the title, leading to the Players' Association and the MLB working out a one-time amendment to Rule 10.22(a).
"After giving this matter the consideration it deserves, I have decided that Major League Baseball will comply with Mr. Cabrera's request," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "I respect his gesture as a sign of his regret and his desire to move forward, and I believe that, under these circumstances, the outcome is appropriate, particularly for Mr. Cabrera's peers who are contending for the batting crown."
Cabrera has a .346 average, while Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen is now the current leader in the NL with a .339 average, followed by the Giants' Buster Posey, who is batting .335.
Madison Bumgarner was able to end a four-start winless streak his last time out and now shoots for back-to-back wins tonight for the Giants. Bumgarner held the Rockies to a run and four hits in six innings of a 2-1 win on Monday, but issued a career-high five walks.
Bumgarner picked up his 15th win (15-10), the first Giants lefty to do that since 2000, and has an earned run average of 3.26 in 30 starts. He is 2-0 in three starts against the Padres this season and 3-2 with a 3.17 ERA in 11 career games, 10 of which have been starts, in this series.
San Diego lost for the fourth time in seven tries last night, and its chances for a wild card berth are slim at eight games off the pace.
Casey Kelly was dealt the loss and allowed two runs on seven hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings.
"I think the walks came back and got him," Padres manager Bud Black said of Kelly. "He wasn't wild, just couldn't hit his spots."
Chase Headley homered and Will Venable ended with three hits in defeat. Headley went deep for the seventh time this month and is batting .284 with 29 homers and 106 RBI this season.
Padres rookie Andrew Werner gets the call this evening and is 2-1 with a 3.68 ERA in five starts. Werner was roughed up in a no-decision versus Colorado on Sunday and gave up five runs in five innings of a 12-11 win. It was the first time he allowed more than two runs in his major league career.
Werner, a left-hander, has never faced San Francisco and will make the second road start of his career.
San Francisco is 9-4 against the Padres this season.