Padres, Giants battle for series win Wednesday

SAN FRANCISCO – San Diego rookie sensation Christian Villanueva gets another shot at a left-handed pitcher Wednesday afternoon when the Padres go up against Derek Holland and the San Francisco Giants in the finale of a three-game series.

The teams have split a couple exciting contests, with the Giants rallying for three runs in the last of the ninth for a walk-off, 6-5 victory Monday, before the Padres got even on an Eric Hosmer tie-breaking homer with two outs in the ninth for a 3-2 win Tuesday.

Villanueva wasted no time adding to his gaudy numbers against lefties in the San Diego win, blasting a solo home run against Giants starter Andrew Suarez in the first inning.

The homer was his eighth of the young season against lefties in only 28 at-bats. It raised his average against left-handers to .500.

“Villa is annihilating left-handed pitching, over and over and over again,” Padres manager Andy Green said of his 26-year-old third baseman. “And he’s having better and better at-bats, for my taste, every time I see him play.”

Villanueva has seen Holland once already this season and the result was the same as with Suarez. The Mexico native bombed a homer off Holland in the first inning of the Padres’ 5-4 victory over the Giants in San Diego on April 14.

Wednesday’s game is a rematch of that pitching duel, with neither Holland nor Padres starter Clayton Richard getting a decision that day.

Holland (0-3, 5.76 ERA) was pulled after 4 2/3 innings that time and allowed three runs and six hits.

The free-agent pick-up has yet to win this season, and in fact has never won at his new home field, AT&T Park, going 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts.

He has faced the Padres only twice in his career, going 0-1 with a 7.84 ERA.

Richard’s start against the Giants, meanwhile, will be the 19th of his career and 22nd appearance against San Francisco. He’s gone 6-7 with a 4.25 ERA against the Giants.

He’s pitched 12 times in San Francisco, nine times as a starter, and gone 4-3 with a 5.16 ERA in those games.

Richard (1-3, 5.35 ERA) went five innings in the April 14 game, allowing four runs and seven hits. Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen homered off the lefty in the game.

It wasn’t the first time McCutchen has roughed up Richard in their head-to-heads. He will take a .455 average into Wednesday’s duel, having homered twice in 11 at-bats.

Buster Posey also has two career homers against Richard. He has hit .375 in 32 at-bats against Richard.

Both teams will be seeking to extend streaks in the afternoon finale.

The Giants will be attempting to capture a fourth consecutive series win even while Joe Panik (thumb) and Johnny Cueto (elbow) have had to go on the disabled list.

The Padres, meanwhile, will be out to continue recent dominance of the Giants. They won an earlier series against San Francisco this season, taking three of four, after holding a 12-7 head-to-head advantage in 2017.