Giants try to stay in the hunt in clash with Padres

While the Diamondbacks keep winning, the chances of the Giants making a playoff run are dwindling with each day.

Keeping faith and hoping for some help around the league are key to San Francisco, which will resume a three-game set with the San Diego Padres tonight at Petco Park. The Giants continued a stretch of 25 straight games against NL West opponents with Monday's 7-2 win over the Padres behind a strong a start from Madison Bumgarner and a pair of homers by Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval scored three times and Cody Ross finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored for the Giants, who are seven games behind Arizona for the NL West lead and 8 1/2 games in back of Atlanta in the Wild Card race. Bumgarner held the Friars to two runs in 8 1/3 innings and struck out a career-high 13.

"Of course it starts with Madison; what a job he did out there on the mound," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "But we had some big hits from everybody. Of course, Pablo had a big day."

The Giants have won three of five games and lost two of three meetings with Arizona over the weekend to begin this stretch against division foes. Outfielder Carlos Beltran did not play Monday because of a stomach illness and could return Tuesday. Beltran is three home runs shy of 300 for his career. First baseman Aubrey Huff left Monday's game with tightness in his lower back.

Giants starter Eric Surkamp was impressive in his major league debut during a 2-1 win in 10 innings over Houston on Saturday and will make his second career start this evening. Surkamp allowed one run over six innings, struck out four batters and issued three walks. Surkamp, who pitched for Class A San Jose a few days afterwards, was summoned from Double-A Richmond and went 10-4 with a 2.02 earned run average in 23 games, 22 of which were starts, for the Flying Squirrels.

With Jonathan Sanchez still on the disabled list with a sprained left ankle, Surkamp beat out left-hander Dan Runzler for the starting nod. Surkamp departed the Eastern League as the leader in ERA, strikeouts (165) and WHIP (1.08). The lefty is the second Flying Squirrel in franchise history to be promoted directly from Richmond to the Major Leagues. Darren Ford was recalled by the Giants September 1, 2010, appearing in seven games.

San Diego is only 2-10 in the midst of a 30-game stretch versus the NL West and couldn't get much done offensively in Monday's series opener with the defending World Series champions.

Nick Hundley homered and Jesus Guzman drove in the other run for the Padres, who received a subpar outing from starting pitcher Tim Stauffer. Stauffer was reached for four runs and seven hits in six innings of work.

"Physically and mentally I feel strong and good," Stauffer said. "Just not executing as well as I need to be and as well as I know I'm capable of."

Wade LeBlanc is 3-0 with a 2.10 earned run average in four career starts against the Giants and San Diego hopes that perfect record remains intact when tonight's game concludes. LeBlanc, who is 1-1 in three home starts this season, suffered his second straight loss in a 4-2 decision at Los Angeles on Wednesday, permitting four runs and six hits in six innings.

LeBlanc fell to 2-4 in nine starts to go along with a 5.14 ERA this season.

The Giants have won eight of 13 meetings with San Diego this season, including five of seven encounters at Petco Park.