Madison Bumgarner needs one win to set a personal record. He very nearly had a much bigger achievement last week against the San Diego Padres.
The ace left-hander attempts to become the San Francisco Giants' first 19-game winner in 18 years Thursday night against the Padres.
Bumgarner (18-8, 2.84 ERA) is 7-2 with a 1.73 ERA over his last nine starts. He's tossed three complete games over that stretch, including a one-hitter in an 8-0 win over San Diego on Sept. 12 to match his career high in wins set last year. He also came four outs shy of his first perfect game.
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Another victory would make him the first Giant to reach 19 since Shawn Estes in 1997, and he may get a chance to become the club's first 20-game winner since John Burkett and Bill Swift in 1993.
Bumgarner could've used some help Friday, allowing two runs - one earned - in eight innings while the offense was two-hit in a 2-0 loss to Arizona.
"Not good enough to win," Bumgarner said.
He's clearly been good enough against the Padres, going 2-0 with a 0.76 ERA in the last three matchups. However, those all came at home. Bumgarner is 2-2 with a 5.88 ERA in his last five games at Petco Park and had his worst performance of the season there April 11, surrendering five runs and 10 hits in three innings.
San Francisco (79-72) had its six-game winning streak over the Padres (71-81) snapped after Santiago Casilla gave up a walkoff single to Jedd Gyorko in Wednesday's 5-4 loss.
The Giants fell seven games back of NL West-leading Los Angeles with 11 remaining, and they sit 9 1/2 behind the Chicago Cubs for the league's second wild-card spot.
"Look, the thoughts aren't good," said Jake Peavy, who pitched six scoreless innings Wednesday. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you I feel great about our chances. That being said, we're not eliminated and we needed them all for a while now. When you lose one like this it is tough, and staring those numbers in the face, it is harsh reality.
"It stinks to be in this position, but you have to be a professional and play as hard as you can and show up (Thursday) and figure out a way to get the big boy (Bumgarner) in the win column."
Brandon Crawford has four hits and three RBIs through the first two of this three-game set after hitting .093 over his previous 14 contests while battling an oblique injury. The shortstop is batting .435 with nine RBIs in his last six meetings with San Diego.
The Padres, losers of six of nine at home, are turning to Ian Kennedy (8-15, 4.29). The right-hander is 0-4 with a 5.52 ERA over his last five starts, and that includes being tagged for seven runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings while losing to Bumgarner on Sept. 12.
Kennedy followed that six days later by losing a third straight start, yielding four runs in six innings of a 7-4 defeat at Colorado.
Hosting the Giants may be a relief for Kennedy, who is 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA in four starts against them at Petco.
Crawford is 0 for 9 with five strikeouts against Kennedy this year, but Buster Posey has hit .429 against him since the start of 2013 while Marlon Byrd has gone 6 for 13 with two homers.