San Francisco Giants (84-68) at San Diego Padres (71-81), 10:10 p.m. (ET)

( - The San Francisco Giants aim to secure a much-needed third straight win on Friday evening in the opener of a three-game series against the San Diego Padres.

The Giants need to get on a roll if they hope to claim a National League West title. The occupants for the league's first wild card spot are 2 1/2 games behind first-place Los Angeles and visit the Dodgers for three more games beginning on Monday.

San Francisco lost the final two of a three-game set versus the Dodgers last weekend, then dropped the opener of a series versus Arizona before winning the final two contests. That includes Wednesday's 4-2 win in which pinch-hitter Matt Duffy played the hero with a go-ahead single.

Pablo Sandoval walked to begin the ninth off Addison Reed, Brandon Crawford singled two batters later and Brandon Belt followed with a walk that loaded the bases. Duffy then lined a 3-2 pitch right back up the box that scored Sandoval and Crawford for a 4-2 advantage.

"When (the manager) shows confidence in you, you get confidence in yourself," Duffy said of the ninth. "I think that has helped in relaxing myself."

Sergio Romo worked the eighth to earn the win prior to Santiago Casilla tossing a scoreless ninth to nail down his 17th save of the season.

Tim Hudson takes the mound for the Giants tonight looking to forget his most recent outing, a 17-0 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday. The veteran righty recorded only three outs in taking the loss, charged with six runs on eight hits.

"We got knocked out early," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Hudson fell to 9-11 with a 3.41 earned run average on the year, but is 7-3 lifetime against the Padres with a 2.84 ERA.

San Diego is coming off a series victory as it took three of four from the Philadelphia Phillies. The Padres secured their first series win over the Phils since 2009 by winning 7-3 on Thursday.

Alexi Amarista homered and drove in two runs, while Will Venable added a late three-run homer. Robbie Erlin got the win, giving up a run over six innings in his first start since May 17.

"He threw the ball as though his elbow was fine," Padres manager Bud Black said. "It was a solid game."

Black would love a solid game tonight out of Odrisamer Despaigne, but the 27- year-old rookie has lost four consecutive decisions since his last win on Aug. 12.

Despaigne dropped a second straight start on Sunday, an 8-6 loss to Arizona. The righty yielded five runs -- three earned -- on six hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings.

He is 3-7 with a 3.63 ERA this year and 1-0 in two meetings with the Giants, holding them to one run over 13 innings.

The Giants and Padres have split 12 meetings this season.

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