Fifth-year right-hander Trevor Cahill can close his regular season with a sixth straight victory on Thursday evening, when the Arizona Diamondbacks visit the San Diego Padres in the finale of a four-game series at Petco Park.
A 25-year-old, Cahill was just 3-10 for the season after a 6-2 loss at Atlanta on June 30, in which he gave up six runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings.
He's 5-0 in eight appearances since - all but one coming in a starting role - including a 5 2/3-inning stint at Colorado on Sept. 21 in which he allowed just one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.
Cahill has dropped his earned run average from 4.66 to 4.02 in the stretch, giving up three runs or less in each of the eight outings and pitching at least six innings three times.
He's 2-3 in six career meetings with the Padres while posting a 2.72 ERA.
For San Diego, rookie left-hander Robbie Erlin faces Arizona for the second time in his ninth big league start.
The 22-year-old debuted with relief appearances on April 30 and May 1, then made his initial start a month later and won, 4-3, against the Toronto Blue Jays.
He defeated the Diamondbacks, 5-1, in his fifth start on Aug. 28, allowing a run and six hits in six innings.
In his most recent outing on Sept. 20 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Erlin was a 2-0 winner after holding the Dodgers to four hits, walking one and striking out seven in 7 2/3 innings.
On Wednesday, Chris Denorfia collected three hits, two RBI and three runs scored, as the Padres pounded the Diamondbacks, 12-2.
Chase Headley had three hits and three RBI, Jedd Gyorko ripped a two-run homer, and Chris Robinson registered his first major league hit with a three- run shot in the eighth for the Padres, who have won two of their last three.
Ian Kennedy (7-10), making his final start of the season against the team he began the season with, struck out seven and held his former squad to two runs on six hits and a walk over seven strong innings.
Randall Delgado (5-7), who recorded Arizona's lone RBI, was tagged for six runs on seven hits over five frames to absorb the loss.
The Padres won nine of the first 15 games with Arizona this season, a year after winning the 2012 season series, 11-7.