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Giants Need Strong Game From Sanchez

43(Sports Network) - The battle for National League West supremacy between the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres resumes this evening with the second installment of a four-game series from Petco Park.

The Giants drew first blood with Thursday's 7-3 win in the series opener, trimming San Diego's once-comfortable lead atop the division standings to just one game thanks to a 13-hit attack highlighted by two-run homers from veteran Aubrey Huff and rookie Buster Posey.

"This is such a big series," Huff said. "To be able to come out and get the first game is huge, you know. You lose that game, you're down three and it's a little bit deflating. But now you're back down to one. So we've got three more games here. We've got to keep rolling. If we win this and lose the rest it really doesn't mean much."

Juan Uribe and Pat Burrell both went deep for the Giants, who are also only a game behind Atlanta for the Senior Circuit's Wild Card berth as well. Huff and Freddy Sanchez finished with three hits apiece, while starting pitcher Matt Cain recorded the win with eight innings of three-run ball. Relievers Javier Lopez and Ramon Ramirez worked the ninth to preserve the victory.

San Francisco owns a 5-2 mark on their 10-game road trip against NL West foes and has won seven of its last nine games overall. It will send Jonathan Sanchez to the mound Friday night with hopes of him keeping an unbeaten streak intact. Sanchez is 2-0 in his last four starts and defeated the Dodgers on Sunday with seven shutout innings in a 3-0 win.

Sanchez reached 10 wins in a season for the first time in his career and will try to bounce back against a Padres club that beat him on August 13 at AT&T Park. In the 3-2 loss that day, Sanchez gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings and is only 2-5 with a solid 2.88 ERA through 17 lifetime matchups (10 starts) with San Diego.

The Padres appeared to be back on track with a three-game sweep of Los Angeles following a season-high 10-game losing streak, but reverted back to their losing ways last night versus the hard-charging Giants.

Jon Garland was aiming for his 14th win of the season before he surrendered six runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings. Garland didn't get much help offensively, as the Padres ended with five hits, two of which off the bat of Ryan Ludwick.

Ludwick clubbed a two-run homer and Will Venable cracked a solo home run in defeat. Ludwick is hitting .225 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 36 games since being acquired from St. Louis in late July.

"I think it was just kind of one of those days that there were some balls that were well struck," Venable said. "It did seem like it was carrying a little more than usual."

San Diego fell to 3-4 on a 10-game residency versus division foes and is relying on starting pitcher Clayton Richard to pull the club back into the win column. Richard has a perfect track record against the Giants this season, having gone 3-0 with a 2.05 earned run average in four starts. He beat San Francisco on August 13 and is 3-1 in five career starts in this series.

Richard, however, is 0-1 despite a 1.98 ERA in his last two starts since going 5-0 over his previous six outings. He did not figure into the decision of Sunday's 4-2 loss versus Colorado, as he was reached for two runs -- one earned -- and nine hits in six frames. The lefty remained at 12-6 to go along with a 3.43 ERA in 28 starts this season.

San Diego has dominated the season series with the Giants by a 9-3 count, including a 4-2 ledger at Petco Park.