San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants
- San Francisco leads the season series 9-7, including having won five of its six home games against the Padres.
- The Padres are just 30-48 (.385) on the road in 2013, compared to 45-36 (.556) at home. That .171 differential in win percentage is the third largest in the majors (road win percentage worse).
- San Francisco has hit 23 home runs in September, which equals its total for July and August combined. The most homers the Giants have hit in any month this season is 24 (May).
- Burch Smith (5.28 BB/9, 11.15 K/9) is on pace to be just the third pitcher in MLB history (minimum five starts) to average 5+ walks and 11+ strikeouts per 9 IP in a single season; the others were Scott Kazmir (5.67, 11.07) as a rookie in 2004 for Tampa Bay and Bob Feller (6.82, 11.03), also in his rookie season, for the 1936 Cleveland Indians.
- These past two Septembers have not been kind to Ryan Vogelsong. His 6.90 (34/44.1) ERA for September 2012 & September 2013 is fourth worst among NL pitchers (minimum seven starts).
- Pablo Sandoval is batting .407 (22/54) with five home runs and 14 RBI against the Padres this season. He has four games with 3+ hits against them in 2013, which is tied for the most 3+ hit games by any player versus any team.
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By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- Last year, the San Francisco Giants won their second World Series in three years, and now finishing tied for third in the NL West will be an accomplishment.
Hunter Pence has his own achievement to be proud of.
With an agreement reached on a long-term contract, Pence and the Giants attempt to conclude 2013 by finishing tied with the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
San Francisco (75-86) is the first team to follow a World Series title with a losing season since St. Louis in 2007.
The Giants, though, are finding some motivation as they try to catch the Padres (76-85) in the standings.
They fell one game back of third-place San Diego with a 9-3 loss Saturday, but still own a 16-5 record in the past 21 meetings at home.
"It would be a big thing if we could win and finish tied for third," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We keep saying we want to win every game we play."
Pence is doing his part, homering in each of the first two of this three-game series. His two-run shot Saturday came hours after he agreed to a five-year, $90 million contract.
Pence has a career-high 27 homers with 96 RBIs.
"You can't help but love Hunter Pence and the way he plays the game," Bochy said. "It's all about making a commitment and getting back on track. You need great players."
Despite Bochy's desire to finish in third, he's opted to end Matt Cain's season early, turning instead to Guillermo Moscoso (2-2, 4.21) for the finale.
Moscoso's only start of the year came in a 4-3 loss at Tampa Bay on Aug. 4, when he allowed three runs with four walks in 4 2-3 innings.
The right-hander has made 10 relief appearances since, giving up seven runs with 11 walks in 18 1-3 innings. That includes two scoreless innings in a 4-1 loss at San Diego on Sept. 2.
Moscoso has worked five shutout innings in four career games out of the bullpen against the Padres.
San Diego is batting .313 with seven homers, 11 doubles and 27 runs during a 3-1 stretch, and Tyson Ross (3-8, 3.10) would surely appreciate some of that production continuing for his scheduled start
He's 0-3 with a 3.64 ERA in eight starts, receiving one run of support in each.
Ross was impressive again in Tuesday's 2-1, 12-inning defeat to Arizona. The only run he allowed in a career high-tying eight innings came on a homer by Paul Goldschmidt.
Ross has made a serious case to be a part of the Padres in 2014, compiling a 2.80 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, despite a 3-4 record in 12 starts since returning to the rotation.
"Since he was re-inserted into the rotation, he has really taken off; there's no doubt about it," manager Bud Black told the team's official website. "Tyson has pitched outstanding. The won-loss (record) really doesn't indicate it. ... If he continues to pitch like this moving into next year, a lot of good things are in store for him."
Ross, though, is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in four games - two starts - versus the Giants.
Updated September 28, 2013