D-backs’ run at playoffs must first go through Giants

The Diamondbacks had enough trouble with the Giants last weekend, losing two of three games at Chase Field, and now their longtime nemesis is on a bit of a roll as a disappointing season winds down.

The Giants hit six home runs a 13-5 victory in San Diego on Thursday have won six of their last 11 entering a four-game series against the D-backs at AT&T Park. Since the Diamondbacks took the NL West title from the Giants in 2011, the match has tilted toward the Bay Area. San Francisco has won the last four of the five series this season and has won the last five at Chase Field.

“We’re a good ball club. We looking to continue to progress and to charge into the end of the season,” Hunter Pence said after going 7 for 12 with his 17th home run at Chase Field last weekend.

Pence had his 10-game hitting streak broken Tuesday but still has 17 hits with three homers and eight RBIs in his last 12 games.

He is not alone. Pablo Sandoval reprised, almost exactly, his Game 1 World Series performance with three home runs against the Padres on Wednesday. As in Detroit last fall, two of Sandoval’s home runs were to left field and the other was to right.

The D-backs (70-68) remain seven games behind the Reds and a half-game behind the Nationals in the race for the second NL wild-card spot with 24 games to play.

They know their task is difficult, but it’s not unimaginable. The Cardinals trailed the Braves by 8 1/2 games on Sept. 4, 2011, before overtaking them to win the NL wild card, and the Cardinals went on to win the World Series. The Rays were eight games behind the Red Sox for the AL wild card on the same day but caught up after a wild convergence of events on the last day of the season.

Pitching matchups: Thursday — RHP Trevor Cahill (5-10, 4.39 ERA) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (3-4, 5.49). Friday — LHP Patrick Corbin (13-5, 2.96) vs. RHP Yusmeiro Petit (2-0, 3.12). Saturday — RHP Brandon McCarthy (3-9, 4.94) vs. RHP Matt Cain (8-8, 4.43). Sunday — LHP Wade Miley (9-10, 3.78) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (11-9, 2.91).

Who’s hot for the Diamondbacks: The National League player of the month for August, Martin Prado has hit safely in three of his four September starts. He is 15 for 43 with 10 RBIs in his last 10 games. … Willie Bloomquist is 12 for 21 with four multiple-hit games since returning from the disabled list Wednesday. … Adam Eaton has 10 hits and seven runs in his last 32 at-bats. …

Who’s not hot for the Diamondbacks: Wade Miley has lost his last three starts while giving up 10 earned runs in his last 14 2/3 innings,. He went 1 2/3 innings against the Blue Jays on Tuesday, the shortest of his 64 major league starts. … Patrick Corbin has lost his last two starts while giving up 13 runs in 10 1/3 innings. …  Aaron Hill has one hit in his last 17 at-bats.

Who’s hot for the Giants: Sandoval has those three homers and 13 hits in his last 32 at-bats (.406). He is a career .388 hitter against the D-backs, totaling 10 homers and 52 RBIs in 80 games. … Yusmeiro Petit, a former D-back, has won both his starts since joining the rotation in late August. … Brandon Belt is hitting .373 with five doubles and three RBIs in his last 13 games. He has four homers and 10 RBIs against the D-backs this season.

Who’s not hot for the Giants: Madison Bumgarner is 0-3 and winless in his last six starts, although it is hardly his fault. He has not given up more than three runs in any of those games. … Brandon Crawford has two hits in his last 27 at-bats, although one was a bases-empty homer in San Diego on Wednesday.

Notes, quotes, odds and ends: Familiar face Matt Cain is returning to the Giants’ rotation for the first time since Aug. 22, when he was placed on the disabled list with a bruised right forearm after being struck by a Gaby Sanchez line drive. Cain has a 2.84 ERA in his last seven outings after opening the second half with a 4-3 victory over the Diamondbacks on July 20. Cain is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA in four starts against the D-backs this season and 14-6 with a 3.39 ERA against them in 31 career starts, 10-2 against them since 2010. … Sandoval became the second player to hit three homers in the 10-year history of Petco Park on Wednesday, joining Ryan Braun, who did it on April 12, 2012 (perhaps not the company Sandoval would choose to keep). The longest of Sandoval’s homers Wednesday traveled 383 feet, according to ESPN Stats and Information. … While the D-backs look to make up ground, the Reds finish a four-game series against the Cardinals on Thursday before playing host to the Dodgers for three games. The D-backs play three in Los Angeles beginning Monday. … Bloomquist is  5 for 13 with a homer against Bumgarner and 4 for 10 against Vogelsong. … Aaron Hill is 7 for 14 with a homer against Vogelsong, and Gerardo Parra is 4 for 14. … Buster Posey is 6 for 12 with a homer against Miley and 6 for 8 with two homers against Josh Collmenter.