MLB

Giants-Diamondbacks Preview

The San Francisco Giants have lots of ground to make up for a return to the postseason, and a series with the reeling Arizona Diamondbacks could help matters.

Hoping they've put their road woes behind, the Giants continue their trip with Monday's opener of a three-game set between struggling NL West teams.

A seven-game losing streak that included three to the Los Angeles Dodgers has placed the defending world champions 7 1/2 games behind their rivals in the division and eight back of the Chicago Cubs for the second wild card. San Francisco (71-66) rebounded with back-to-back wins at Colorado, but is just 4-14 in its last 18 on the road.

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The Giants swept three games in their last visit to Chase Field from July 17-19 and face an Arizona club that's dropped 11 of 14 since climbing a game over .500 on Aug. 23.

The Diamondbacks (65-72) did San Francisco no favors by losing three straight at Wrigley Field over the weekend. Arizona pitchers served up three homers, including a tiebreaking grand slam to ex-Diamondback Miguel Montero in the sixth of Sunday's 6-4 loss.

"I do think our guys are giving really good effort," manager Chip Hale said. "We're probably not pitching well enough in the bullpen to be a winning ballclub. We have to have a little better at-bats. It's not from lack of effort."

A slumping San Francisco offense came to life in the final two at Coors Field, producing 29 hits and 14 runs. The Giants had 14 runs and one homer during the skid.

Buster Posey went 2 for 4 with his 100th career home run in Sunday's 7-4 victory and is 16 for 31 over an eight-game hitting streak. Matt Duffy went 6 for 14 with four RBIs over the final three games and Marlon Byrd had four hits in the finale.

"Good bounce-back for us," manager Bruce Bochy said. "To lose the first two here, lose three in L.A. and come back and win two games here in a tough ballpark, the boys did well."

Mike Leake (9-7, 3.49 ERA) has been hampered by the offensive inconsistency. The deadline pickup remains winless as a Giant despite allowing two runs or fewer while working six or more innings in three of four starts since being acquired from Cincinnati.

Leake has received six runs of support in those outings and had a tough-luck outcome again Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, where he threw seven effective innings in a 2-1 defeat.

The right-hander is 4-0 in seven career starts against Arizona, however, and won both meetings last season. Though Leake has a 5.30 ERA in three Chase Field appearances, he threw six innings of three-run ball in a 6-4 win there May 30, 2014, and has held Paul Goldschmidt to two hits in 16 at-bats.

While Leake seeks his first win since July 28, Arizona's Patrick Corbin (4-3, 3,67) is 3-0 with a 3.67 ERA since last losing July 24. The 2013 All-Star yielded a pair of solo homers among seven hits over 6 1-3 innings of a 6-4 win at Colorado on Tuesday.

Corbin hasn't bested the Giants since Sept. 16, 2012, though, going 0-4 with a 4.79 ERA in six starts since and losing his last three.

He may benefit from San Francisco's injury-plagued lineup. Hunter Pence (oblique) is 10 for 21 with three homers off Corbin and Hector Sanchez (ankle) is 7 for 13, but neither will play in the series. Nori Aoki remains sidelined due to concussion symptoms.

Aaron Hill, 4 for 15 with a home run against Leake, is expected to miss a fifth straight game with an injured hamstring.