The Padres will seek their first road series win of the season in the series finale against Tim Hudson and the Giants in San Francisco.
Left-hander Robbie Erlin, who has struggled in his last two starts after starting the season relatively strong, will try to pave the way against the Giants' right-handed-heavy lineup in the finale.
"It's a good lineup," Erlin said. "Definitely have to keep the ball down and mix it up -- mix up speeds, mix up locations. They're a good lineup. There's a lot of right-handed bats, so you just got to take it as it goes and throw to situations."
There are several threats in the Giants' lineup, but Erlin should pay particular attention to Michael Morse, who is mashing with his new team. Morse is hitting .301 with six home runs, 19 RBIs and a .920 OPS.
"I've seen this guy do this a lot as a kid with Seattle," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Morse. "He also had a big year with Washington. He's a good hitter and he's healthy this year. He always gives you a good at-bat. People think of him as a power hitter, but he doesn't try to do too much. He's been fun to watch."
Said Erlin on Morse, "He's a big, power bat and hits balls up and over the plate. That's a guy you've got to make pitches to."
Erlin was roughed in his last start, surrendering eight runs on 13 hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Nationals on Friday. Since tossing six innings of one-run ball against the Indians in his first start on April 9, Erlin has allowed 15 earned runs in 16 innings and his ERA has ballooned to 6.35. Not that he's lost any confidence
"I feel great," Erlin said. "Been getting a lot of good work in in between starts and feel like I'm definitely improving every time. Last one was definitely a rough one. Got some room to improve, see what we go out there and do tomorrow."
Padres: Black is working wonders
Manager Bud Black deserves a lot of credit for keeping his team right in the thick of the competitive National League West despite a host of injuries and a sputtering offense.
Unheralded players like rookie infielder Jace Peterson, who received his big league callup while on the bus for Double-A San Antonio last week, have already played roles in the San Francisco series.
"We've got a great group of guys, Peterson said. "I saw that in Spring Training, just the camaraderie of the guys and the way they approach work every day and approach the game."
Jedd Gyorko missed the first two games of the series due to paternity leave, but he is expected to be back in the starting lineup for the finale, along with left fielder Seth Smith, who has missed the past five starts due to a groin strain.
Giants: Cain's injury not considered serious
Matt Cain was scratched from his start Tuesday after cutting his right index finger with a knife in the clubhouse kitchen at AT&T Park. No stitches were required and Bochy sounded confident the injury wasn't serious, though it has yet to be determined if Cain will make his next start.
"From my understanding, he had a knife in his hand and dropped it," Bochy said. "He went to grab it again and cut himself.
"It should close up in a couple of days. He should be fine."
• Hudson made his only career relief appearance against the Padres on July 13, 2008.
• The Giants are 11-1 this season when they score first and 5-10 when they don't .
• Through 28 games this season, the Padres have played in 18 contests decided by two runs or fewer (11-7), the most such games by a Major League team this season.
Joe Popely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.