Sitting just out of first place in the NL West and barely outside of wild-card position, the San Francisco Giants have a mild uphill climb to make the postseason.
Their playoff push became significantly more challenging this week.
With Melky Cabrera suspended for the remainder of the regular season following a positive test for testosterone, the Giants hope Friday night's series opener against a San Diego Padres team they usually beat can help get their stretch drive back on track.
About 90 minutes before the start of Wednesday's 6-4 loss to NL East-leading Washington, Giants manager Bruce Bochy informed his team that Cabrera was suspended for testing positive for the banned performance-enhancing substance, violating MLB's joint drug prevention and treatment program. He will miss the final 45 games of the regular season, and either the first five games of the postseason or of 2013.
San Francisco (64-54), which is one-half game behind first-place Los Angeles in the division and one game out of the second wild-card spot, is trying not to dwell on the discouraging news."We're disappointed," Bochy said. "Our thoughts are right now, we move on. That's all you can do. That's all you can do whether it's an injury or something like this. This team will remain focused on trying to win ballgames. That's where we're at right now. That never changes."
Winning will be tougher without Cabrera. He had an NL-best 159 hits before his suspension and is tied for the league lead with 84 runs, batting .346 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs. The Giants were 7-20 in games when Cabrera, the All-Star game MVP, didn't get a hit.
As long as Buster Posey is behind the plate and Matt Cain (11-5, 2.99 ERA) is in the rotation, San Francisco - which has won 17 of the last 23 meetings with the Padres (52-68) - figures to at least be competitive.
Posey had led the way in nine matchups this season, batting .323 with three homers, three doubles and 10 RBIs. He is hitting .343 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in his last eight games in San Diego.
Cain made his lone start of the season series at Petco Park on June 7, yielding three unearned runs while striking out nine in seven innings of an 8-3 win. He improved to 2-3 with a 2.40 ERA in his last seven games in San Diego.
The Padres return to Petco, where they've won four in a row and 10 of 12, after being outscored 18-1 while losing the final three of a four-game series at Atlanta.
Chase Headley , who finished the road trip in a 4-for-20 slump, is batting .324 with three homers and nine RBIs in his last nine home games. He is also hitting .321 with three doubles in 28 at-bats against Cain, who gave up two runs in 7 1-3 innings of Saturday's 9-3 victory over Colorado.
The Padres counter with Ross Ohlendorf (4-3, 6.41), who was tagged for seven runs in three innings of Sunday's 11-5 loss at Pittsburgh.
The right-hander, who made his lone career start against San Francisco in 2010, signed with San Diego in June and has enjoyed pitching at spacious Petco, going 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three starts.
|San Francisco Giants|
|August 14, 2012||Brad Penny||15-Day DL||Right shoulder impingement|
|August 07, 2012||Shane Loux||15-Day DL||Recurring neck strain|
|July 31, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Strained right knee|
|July 25, 2012||Pablo Sandoval||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|July 25, 2012||Pablo Sandoval||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|July 18, 2012||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left knee sprain|
|San Diego Padres|
|August 11, 2012||Huston Street||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|July 31, 2012||Yasmani Grandal||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|July 28, 2012||Joe Thatcher||Day-to-Day||Sore right knee|
|July 26, 2012||Joe Thatcher||15-Day DL||Right knee tendinitis|
|July 18, 2012||Cameron Maybin||Day-to-Day||Sore right wrist|
|July 04, 2012||Andrew Cashner||15-Day DL||Strained muscle in right side|
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants needed this win badly.
Coming on the heels of Wednesday's news that leading hitter Melky Cabrera had been suspended for 50 games for testing positive for testosterone, San Francisco was reeling.
After an off day on Thursday following 20 straight games, the Giants rebounded in a big way.
Matt Cain pitched eight dominating innings and San Francisco scored eight runs in the third inning to move into first place in the NL West with a 10-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Friday night.
"What happened on Wednesday was tough for all of us, kind of a shock for all of us," Cain said. "But that's the thing about baseball, you have to turn the page. I think the guys have done a good job of that."
San Francisco lost at home to Washington on Wednesday shortly after learning of Cabrera's suspension.
"It's important that you are resilient in this game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "With what has happened, it was important that we come out and play well, and the fellas did. We have to move on and that's what the guys are doing."
Cain (12-5), who pitched a perfect game on June 13, surrendered one run on four hits. The right-hander didn't allow his first hit until Yonder Alonso 's one-out double in the fifth. Alonso scored one out later on Everth Cabrera 's single.
"He was hitting his spots," Bochy said. "He had all his pitches going. He's tough when he's on and he was on (Friday)."
Cain, 6-0 in nine starts following a San Francisco loss, struck out six and did not walk a batter.
"He threw a lot of strikes," Padres rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal said. "He throws everything for strikes. He just keeps you off balance. He was real tough."
The Giants moved one-half game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers , who lost 4-3 in 11 innings at Atlanta. San Francisco had been in first place for 32 consecutive days before Wednesday's loss to the Nationals.
Marco Scutaro homered and drove in two runs and Angel Pagan had three hits and two RBIs to lead the Giants' 15-hit attack. All nine San Francisco starters had at least one hit.
Scutaro hit a solo homer in the first inning before San Francisco's season-high scoring output in the third off Ross Ohlendorf (4-4) and reliever Nick Mikolas.
One of the Giants' biggest concerns moving forward, was how they would replace Cabrera's .346 batting average, 11 homers and 60 RBIs. But for one game, they had the answer.
"We have a great team and a good group of guys," Cain said. "All these guys know what they can do. It's just a matter of us putting it together and focusing on that."
The Giants eight runs came on eight hits, including two doubles and a triple, along with two walks and a passed ball as they sent 13 batters to the plate.
"This park is tough to score runs in," Bochy said. "But if you put the bat on the ball, good things are going to happen."
Pagan had an RBI triple and a run-scoring single in the inning. Scutaro, Pablo Sandoval , Gregor Blanco and Cain all had RBI singles and Hunter Spence drove in a run with a double.
Ohlendorf gave up a leadoff double in the inning before getting an out. He then allowed the next six batters to reach safely before getting pulled for Mikolas.
Ohlendorf allowed a career-high eight runs on six hits in 2 1-3 innings. The right-hander, who gave up seven runs in three innings of Sunday's 11-5 loss at Pittsburgh, saw his ERA rise from 6.41 to 7.58.
San Francisco has won 18 of the last 24 meetings with the Padres.
San Diego, outscored 18-1 while losing the final three of a four-game series at Atlanta that ended on Wednesday, had its four-game home winning streak snapped. The Padres had won 10 of 12 at home.
"You're going to have stretches like this," San Diego manager Bud Black said. "But you have to realize these things happen over the course of a season."
NOTES: In Ohlendorf's last start, Pittsburgh scored nine runs in the fourth inning, six off against Ohlendorf. . San Francisco has won 10 of its last 14 road games since the All-Star break, outscoring its opponents by a 103-45 margin. . The Giants recalled OF Justin Christian and RHP Eric Hacker from Triple-A Fresno on Friday. RHP Dan Otero was optioned to Fresno. . San Diego activated rookie C Yasmani Grandal (strained right oblique) from the 15-day DL. C Nick Hundley (bruised right knee) was placed on the 15-day DL. . Giants LHP Barry Zito (9-8, 4.29 ERA) faces off against Padres LHP Eric Stults (3-2, 2.45) on Saturday night.