San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy had been waiting for a series like this one since February and it's finally here.
The Padres are in first place, leading the division by 3 1/2 games. The Giants are in the second spot and making a charge. It's only August, but everyone knows there can only be one winner of the National League West crown.
Who will it be?
"You talk about this in spring, about being in this position, and both teams are," Bochy said. "To be competing to get to the playoffs is what this game's about. We're similar teams. We've played a lot of tight games early on. There's a lot of games left, as we all know, but we need to find a way to play better against them. They've done pretty well against us."
In fact, the Padres have done very well against the Giants. Including Friday's 3-2 victory, the Padres are 8-1 against the Giants this season.
San Diego starter Mat Latos will try to make the record 9-1. The rookie won his 12th game of the year in his last start in Arizona, tossing six shutout frames with six strikeouts. He hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in any of his past 10 starts.
"Any player wants to be in this situation," San Diego infielder Miguel Tejada said. "For us to be in the playoffs, we have to beat the best. The Giants are a good team and it's a good rivalry. It was always a great rivalry between the A's and the Giants. I love that."
The Giants will counter with Madison Bumgarner. He hasn't won since July 24 but Bumgarner has allowed more than three runs only once in his past nine starts. He allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings to the Cubs for a no-decision in his last outing.
Let the showdown resume.
"This is why you play the game. Two teams having nice years," Bochy said. "There's still a lot of baseball left, but there's a lot at stake here and we all know that."
Padres pitching update
The Padres will a keep a close eye on their young arms during the final stretch of the season. However, the plan of action has not been made public.
"[Clayton] Richard and [Wade] LeBlanc will be fine," Black said. "LeBlanc's workload has been heavy in the Minors. Latos, we're going to be more cautious as far as his volume. There are some off-days we can use to push him back. We've had open discussions."
Black also said veteran Jon Garland felt some "tightness" after his last start. Garland said he was feeling much better.
Giants: Burrell contributing
Pat Burrell has hit safely in his last eight games, hitting .429 (12-for-28) during that stretch. ... Reliever Santiago Casilla has been unscored upon in his last 12 innings over his last eight games. He's retired 33 of his last 38 batters faced during that stretch. ... The Giants acquired outfielder Jose Guillen and cash considerations from Kansas City for a player to be named Friday. He is the new regular right fielder.
Following a runner's interference call by first-base umpire Marvin Hudson in the top of the fourth inning, the Padres played Friday's game under protest. ... Each of the Giants' past nine games have been decided by three runs or fewer, including 15 of their last 19. Additionally, each of the nine games between the Giants and Padres this season has been decided by three runs or fewer. ... Friday's game was 20th sellout of the season at AT&T Park, surpassing last year's total of 19.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.