The San Francisco Giants turn to veteran Matt Cain to try and put an end to their recent slide when they visit Petco Park Friday night for the opener of a three-game set.
Cain has won just one of his 13 starts this season, although he was sharp against Cincinnati his last time out. The right-hander pitched seven scoreless innings against the Reds after yielding a total of 13 earned runs over his previous two starts.
"It's a long season; it's going to happen," Cain said. "You have to be resilient. I think (how we respond) is going to show what kind of team we have. We know the guys we have in here are able to do that."
Meanwhile, Padres starter Eric Stults has not fared any better of late with losses in each of his last six appearances, the longest active streak in the majors.
However, the left-hander has given up three earned runs or less in each of his last three starts. Against Arizona on Saturday, he yielded only two runs but was unable to complete the sixth inning.
"I felt like overall my stuff, the last three or four starts, has started to improve," Stults said. "Where I'm at now as opposed to where I was my first five to seven starts, I feel like there's been significant improvement."
Stults has faced San Francisco twice this season, the latest of which he was tagged for five runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings.
San Diego currently sits 9 1/2 games off the pace in the NL West, although the team has won four straight. The Padres, who have not won five in a row all year, outscored Cincinnati by a 12-2 margin during their three-game series this week.
On Wednesday, Tyson Ross threw his first career shutout as he allowed just three hits while striking out nine and walking nobody. It was the second shutout of that three-game set for the Padres, who were idle on Thursday.
San Francisco has lost eight of its last 10 after dropping two of three at home against St. Louis this week. Subsequently, the Giants entered the day trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers by a half-game for the division lead.
They are coming off Thursday's 7-2 setback against St. Louis to cap an ugly 2-8 homestand. The Giants were outhit 14-7 in the series rubber match, as ace Madison Bumgarner coughed up five runs (four earned).
Overall, the Giants have lost 17 of their last 22 games and sport the worst record in baseball since June 9. They hope to get a spark from the return of first baseman Brandon Belt, who has been out of action since fracturing his left thumb on May 9. Manager Bruce Bochy said Belt, who was hitting .264 with nine home runs and 18 RBI in 35 games before the injury, will bat second in the lineup behind new leadoff man Hunter Pence.
The last time these teams faced each other was on June 25, when Giants starter Tim Lincecum no-hit the Padres.