The San Diego Padres try to win their seventh straight game on Monday when they open three-game series with the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park.
San Diego was impressive in sweeping the National League West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend. The 4-1 victory on Sunday pushed the Padres above .500 this late in the season for the first time since ending 2010 at 90-72.
It's no secret as to what has been the driving force for the Padres during this run, as their starters are 7-0 in their last eight games, allowing two runs or fewer in six of them.
That could continue on Monday, as righty Edinson Volquez takes the hill trying to build on an impressive outing. Volquez gave up just a run in seven innings to beat Atlanta on Wednesday, as he improved to 5-5 to go along with a 5.87 ERA. He also struck out a season-high nine batters in the win.
"For him, it's about the secondary pitches in the strike zone," manager Bud Black said. "He threw the hook in the strike zone and made some great pitches with the change."
Volquez is 2-1 in seven starts versus the Giants with a 5.00 ERA.
San Francisco, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Barry Zito, who has lost his last two starts and four of his last five decisions. Zito was hammered by Pittsburgh on Wednesday to the tune of eight runs and 11 hits in just 4 2/3 innings to fall to 4-5, while raising his ERA to 4.79.
Oddly enough, though, Zito is 0-4 with a 11.28 ERA on the road, but 4-1 with a 1.94 mark in San Francisco.
Zito is 5-9 lifetime versus the Padres with a 4.46 ERA in 23 games (22 starts).
San Francisco will be looking to get back on track after losing two of three to the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, including a 3-0 setback in Sunday's rubber match.
Tim Lincecum (4-7) walked five and gave up six hits as the Giants dropped their fourth game in six contests. He was charged with three runs -- two earned -- in the setback.
"My confidence is fine. In every outing, I go out there and I can take some positives from it," said Lincecum. "I'm trying not to lean on the negatives so much because that focus can lead to some compounding issues."
San Francisco has split its six games with the Padres this season, but it has won 15 of 19 in the series as the home team. The Giants swept the Padres at AT&T earlier in the year, only to see the Padres return the favor in San Diego.