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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, September 21st (All times eastern)

San Diego Padres (72-78) at San Francisco Giants (87-63), 10:15 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: San Diego - Casey Kelly (2-1, 5.85) San Francisco - Ryan Vogelsong (12-9, 3.65)

(Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants are closing in on their second National League West title in three years and look to stay perfect on a 10- game homestand Friday when they play the first of three straight games versus the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park.

The Giants have a magic number of three to clinch the NL West and kicked off the residency by sweeping the Colorado Rockies in four games. Pablo Sandoval came up huge in Thursday's 9-2 win, homering twice and driving in four runs, while Buster Posey also went deep for San Francisco, which has a 10-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division.

Barry Zito earned the win and held the Rockies to two runs in 5 2/3 innings. He also struck out six and walked one batter.

"You wouldn't know it from the vibe here in the clubhouse, we're fighting everyday like we're one game up," Zito said. "It's something that is really memorable about this team. We've fought so hard, especially since we lost Melky (Cabrera)."

The Giants have won in each of Zito's last nine starts and are 8-1 in their previous nine games. That lone loss came on Sept. 16 at Arizona, where tonight's starter Ryan Vogelsong was drilled for seven runs -- six earned -- in only 3 1/3 innings. Vogelsong hopes to get back on track Friday and is 0-2 in his past three outings.

Vogelsong, who has a 12-9 record in 28 starts with a 3.65 ERA, lost to the Padres on Aug. 19 in a 7-1 setback and was reached for three runs in three innings. The right-hander is 1-3 with a lofty 7.47 ERA in 12 career games (4 starts) against San Diego.

San Diego is eight games off the final wild card spot in the NL with 12 to play and just dropped two of three meetings with the Diamondbacks.

The Padres avoided the sweep with Thursday's 6-5 win and used eight pitchers to get by. Starter Clayton Richard picked up the win and gave up four runs in six innings of work. Anthony Bass was the seventh reliever used (fifth in the ninth) and collected the save by getting the final out of the game.

"This is one of those where if you would have told us or the Diamondbacks that it would come down to five pitchers in the ninth (inning) and in a one-run game and still end up winning you would say you were crazy, but baseball is a funny game that way," Padres manager Bud Black said.

Jesus Guzman belted a three-run homer in the first inning to set the tone for the Padres, winners in 10 of their last 14 games.

Padres rookie Casey Kelly will take the mound tonight and is 2-1 with a 5.85 earned run average in four starts. Kelly previously pitched in a 4-3 win over Colorado last Saturday and permitted three runs, two of which were earned, and seven hits in six innings.

Kelly rebounded from a brutal showing versus the D-backs on Sept. 8, when he was tagged for six runs in 2 1/3 innings. The right-hander has never faced the Giants.

San Francisco is 8-4 against the Padres this season.

09/21 10:41:16 ET