Padres welcome Phillies for weekend series

A 7-1 stretch around the trade deadline gave San Diego's front office hope that it wasn't too late to make a run at a playoff spot and incentive not to move James Shields.

The Padres are now headed in the other direction as they try to avoid a fourth straight loss Friday night when Shields takes the ball against the improved Philadelphia Phillies at Petco Park.

The right-hander has posted a 2.57 ERA over his last seven starts but only has one victory in his past 11 while receiving 16 total runs of support. The Padres have gone 2-9 in those contests.

Shields (8-4, 3.74 ERA), who had been the subject of trade rumors prior to the July 31 deadline, didn't get a single run from the offense for a second straight outing Sunday. He didn't receive a decision in a 5-2 loss at Miami after giving up two runs over six innings.

Since entering the month on a roll, San Diego (52-57) has lost four of its last five to fall further back of an NL wild-card spot. The Padres closed a 10-game trip Thursday with a 10-1 loss to Milwaukee.

"It's disappointing," interim manager Pat Murphy said. "I'm not going to make excuses, but this team has been on the road twice as much as it has been home over the last 40 games. You can get caught in a rut like this."

Shields has pitched particularly well at Petco, allowing two runs or less in each of his last seven starts there. He owns a 2.06 ERA while fanning 47 over 43 2-3 innings during that span.

The veteran hasn't been that sharp with a 6.35 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies, but he hasn't faced them since 2013 while with Kansas City.

Philadelphia (42-67) has turned things around offensively after averaging an MLB-worst 3.4 runs in the first half of the season. The Phillies have scored 5.4 per game in winning 13 of 18 since the All-Star break, but lost two straight for the first time over that span Thursday.

Domonic Brown homered off Zack Greinke as the Phillies had double-digit hits for the 10th time in 13 games in a 10-8 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Cesar Hernandez is hitting .387 in his last seven, while Ryan Howard is batting .372 in his past 11.

"I don't know about you, but it's fun for me to watch these guys hit," interim manager Pete Mackanin told MLB's official website.

Aaron Nola (2-1, 3.38) will try to continue a promising start to his career after giving up two runs over five innings in a 12-2 home win over Atlanta on Saturday. The Phillies are keeping a close watch on his workload, and he hasn't thrown more than 92 pitches in any of his three starts.

The rookie right-hander will get his first look at a San Diego offense that managed just two hits Thursday after batting .295 while averaging 6.1 runs over its previous eight games.

Yangervis Solarte couldn't extend his 11-game hitting streak, ending the longest by a Padre since Will Venable's 15-game run in August 2013. Venable likely won't play in this series after going on paternity leave before Thursday's game.

The Phillies have dropped six of nine at Petco, including three of four in September. San Diego's Alexi Amarista went 6 for 11 with two home runs in the final three of that series.

Philadelphia's Chase Utley, batting .179 this season, is expected to return after missing 37 games with right ankle inflammation.