Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin had the best seasons of his career while a member of the White Sox from 2008-11, hitting 107 of his 152 career homers for Chicago.
Quentin, who missed the first 39 games of the season with a left knee bone bruise, is hitting .370 after going 2-for-5 with a double in Friday's 4-1 series-opening win. The Padres hope memories of his 59 career homers at U.S. Cellular Field will prompt a power surge from Quentin in his old stomping grounds.
"He's our best offensive player when he's right," Padres manager Bud Black said of Quentin. "He's our best threat."
Quentin said Friday that it was on the South Side of Chicago where he learned to rely not exclusively on his athletic abilities, but also on an ability to study other hitters.
"Going over there, I felt I was relatively unknown. It was a sink-or-swim type of deal. I studied lots of tape and lots of hitters and learned as much as I could about hitting," Quentin said. "Up to that point, I listened to too many voices. It was a feel thing -- I really had no idea what I was doing.
"But I was able to perform [in Chicago] and establish myself as a big leaguer."
Quentin and the rest of San Diego's hitters will have their work cut out for them Saturday afternoon in the second game of the three-game set, as White Sox starters have posted a 2.19 ERA over their last 10 games.
Saturday's starter for Chicago, right-hander Andre Rienzo, has allowed two earned runs in each of his last three starts, striking out 19 and walking six over 17 1/3 innings over that span.
In addition to the stellar starting pitching, the White Sox have fared well since losing rookie slugger Jose Abreu, going 7-5 since he went on the 15-day disabled list due to posterior tibia tendinitis.
"You're encouraged because these guys come to compete. They come here to win games," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "I don't know how much of a feather you put in your cap, just because guys have been hurt, but you do have guys who come in and they fill in and do a good job."
San Diego will counter with right-hander Tyson Ross, who is coming off a subpar outing in which he gave up four runs in five innings of a no-decision against the D-backs on Monday. Overall, however, he's pitched well this season, posting a 2.97 ERA and not allowing more than one earned run in four straight starts leading up to his most recent start.
Padres: Medica's bat heating up
Before going 0-for-3 on Friday, outfielder/first baseman Tommy Medica had six hits over his prior two games. He became the first Padres rookie to do so since Edgar Gonzalez in 2008.
Medica is one of three National League players this season to have accomplished the feat, joining Atlanta's Justin Upton (April 10-11) and Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers (May 18, 20). He's also the 18th player in franchise history to accomplish the feat and the first since Will Venable did so last Aug. 23-24.
"Tommy is running hot, he's hitting the ball hard," said Black. "Those aren't cheapies."
White Sox: Konerko hoping to be in lineup Saturday
Paul Konerko's back locked up after Tuesday's rain-delayed contest against the Indians, causing him to miss the final two games of the series against Cleveland. But the veteran slugger hopes to be back in the White Sox lineup against the Padres on Saturday.
"I took some swings in the cage and the thought was that I'd be available [Friday] later in the game but ... we weren't sure enough if it was going to be ready," Konerko said. "We didn't want to burn two people right off the bat in the beginning of the game."
If his back doesn't feel completely better, Konerko may end up having to go on the disabled list.
"It is what it is. I have to deal with this a lot," Konerko said.
• Konerko is second all time with 59 Interleague home runs, trailing Jim Thome, who hit 64. He is also second all time with 176 Interleague RBIs, trailing Alex Rodriguez (203).
• The White Sox have scored the fourth most runs in the Majors (259) this season, while the Padres have scored the fewest (179).
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.