Neither Matt Cain nor Cole Hamels had a lot of success prior to the All-Star break, but the talented hurlers are looking to turn things around in the second half.
The two high-priced arms square off on Thursday night when the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies play the rubber match of a three-game series.
Cain was just 5-6 with a 5.06 earned run average in 19 first-half starts for the Giants, but has been solid in two outings following the break. The righty has allowed three runs over 12 innings with a 2.25 ERA and 11 strikeouts.
Cain beat Arizona on June 20 to even his season record, then took a tough-luck no-decision versus the Chicago Cubs on Friday. The 28-year-old yielded one run over seven innings, fanning seven and unleashing a season-high 115 pitches in his club's 3-2 loss.
Now armed with a 4.79 ERA on the year, Cain is 1-4 with a 3.72 ERA in nine career meetings with the Phillies.
Hamels, meanwhile, has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his past five starts, going 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA in that span. However, he has still lost his last two outings and at 4-13 has already set a single-season career-high for most losses in a season.
The left-hander, who has a 4.09 ERA through 22 outings this year, dropped a 2-1 decision in Detroit last Friday, giving up both runs in seven innings of work on six hits and three walks.
Hamels, 29, is 5-3 in 11 career encounters with the Giants, logging three complete games and a 4.14 ERA.
The Phillies snapped an eight-game slide by winning Tuesday's opener by a 7-3 margin, but the Giants turned the table last night and claimed a 9-2 decision.
San Francisco, which had been held to four runs or fewer in 11 of its previous 12 games, jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first inning and tacked on three more runs in the third to rush out ahead.
"We got a couple of hits early and got our confidence back," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Brett Pill drove in four runs on three hits, including a one-out solo homer in the seventh that was San Francisco's first longball in 10 games. Brandon Crawford also hit a solo homer in the frame.
Both Pill and Roger Kieschnick were recalled from Triple-A on Tuesday and Pill is 6-for-9 in this series. Kieschnick, meanwhile, had a pair of hits and drove in two runs in his MLB debut on Wednesday.
Chad Gaudin surrendered a run on four hits and a walk over seven innings for the Giants, who snapped a five-game slide and won for only the second time in their past 10 games.
Chase Utley cracked a solo homer and added an RBI groundout for the Phillies, while Kyle Kendrick was charged with seven runs -- six earned -- on eight hits and a walk over two-plus frames to absorb the loss.
"Everything they hit fell," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "(Kendrick) just had one of those games where things definitely didn't go his way."
Not everything went the Giants way as third baseman Pablo Sandoval suffered a bruised right heel running out an infield single in the sixth inning. He exited the contest early and is day-to-day.
Philadelphia's Darin Ruf went 1-for-2 and has reached base safely in each of his last 28 games dating back to last season, including all 19 he has played in this year.
The Phillies took two of three in San Francisco from May 6-8.