Matt Cain's luck against the Padres has to improve. Because it can't get much worse.
Cain, who's scheduled to start Tuesday night for the Giants at AT&T Park, owns an admirable 3.04 ERA against the Padres in 32 career starts. Yet his record against them is 7-12, one of his worst against any team.
Cain's last start against the Padres was typical. He pitched superbly April 18 at Petco Park, yielding four hits and an unearned run in seven innings. Yet he and the Giants lost, 2-1. It marked the seventh time in Cain's career that he allowed two earned runs or fewer to San Diego and absorbed the loss.
San Diego's lone run that night off Cain scored on a passed ball by catcher Hector Sanchez, who felt dejected afterward.
"I thought at that moment I caught the ball," Sanchez said. "But I looked at the ground and I did not have it. It's sad, because it's a different story if I catch that ball. We're probably still playing."
The Padres will counter with left-hander Eric Stults, who entered his April 19 start with a 5.21 ERA against the Giants. Stults thrived vs. them that day, permitting one run and three hits in six inning as San Diego triumphed, 3-1, and handed Tim Hudson his lone loss thus far.
Stults improved his fortunes against the Giants by preying upon their aggressiveness.
"I kept the first pitches down and got some early strike ones," Stults said. "They were swinging at a lot of my first pitches."
Stults and fellow left-hander Robbie Erlin could be subject to shuffling. Manager Bud Black said he "possibly" could use Thursday's scheduled off-day to alter the sequence of the starting rotation and separate Stults from Erlin to give opponents a different look more often.
Said Black, "You know what, though? Let's get through these games with the Giants and then we'll get a better idea."
Padres: Welcome back, Cam
Cameron Maybin made a quick impact in his return to the Padres on Sunday after missing the first 25 games of the year with a ruptured left biceps tendon. He went 2-for-4 with a double in San Diego's win over the Nationals, after spending time in Sacramento with the Padres' Triple-A El Paso affiliate.
By Monday, he was back in Northern California as the No. 2 hitter and center fielder against the Giants.
"You don't see that often," manager Bud Black said, "when a guy flies from Sacramento to Washington, D.C., for one game and then fly back. That's the Schwarzenegger special, Sacramento to D.C."
Maybin was limited due to injuries in 2013 and played in just 14 contests but can be a key tablesetter and defender for the team when healthy. Aside from his impact on the field, Black said he's been happy to see Maybin rejoin his teammates in the clubhouse.
"He engages with everybody in our clubhouse across the board, which is great," Black said. "Nice personality. Good sense of humor. He's easy to be around. I think the guys enjoy Cam, not only when he's on the field and playing to his potential, but in the clubhouse where he's got a nice way about him."
Giants: Staying homer-happy
After finishing next-to-last in the National League in home runs last year, the Giants are flexing their muscles.
San Francisco has homered in nine of its last 10 games, including six in a row. The Giants also have totaled 31 homers for April, their most in any month since they reached 31 in September 2011.
Brandon Hicks delivered his game-winning homer Sunday against Cleveland after Brandon Crawford was intentionally walked with two outs and Ehire Adrianza at second base. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in Hicks' career that the batter ahead of him received an intentional pass. He joined Jack Clark (1978), Willie McCovey (1979) and Pedro Feliz (2003) as the only Giants in the franchise's San Francisco history (since 1958) to hit walk-off homers following an intentional walk.
• The Padres turned a season-high three double plays Monday, all in the first five innings.
• Those double plays that the Giants grounded into tied a season high that they've reached five times. They've hit into 24 double plays, third in the National League.
• San Diego's bullpen accumulated 3 2/3 scoreless innings to lower its Major League-best ERA to 1.96.