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HOU@SD: Volquez fans five in one-hitter vs. Astros

If Padres pitcher Edinson Volquez prepares for his outing against San Francisco on Tuesday the way he prepared for his last start, the Giants likely will have their work cut out for them.

Volquez tossed a one-hit shutout against the Astros on Thursday, as San Diego escaped with a 1-0 win. The one hit was an infield single that bounced off Volquez's glove.

The most impressive part -- at least as far as Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley is concerned -- was Volquez's work leading up to his dominant performance.

"He's really starting to study hitters more, and he's really focused on looking at the strengths of each hitter before a start," Balsley said. "He's doing a much better job of being prepared."

Balsley added that "the focus lately has been a little stronger" for Volquez, who has a 1.71 ERA in three starts (21 innings) this month.

But when Volquez takes on the Giants at AT&T Park, he won't have the luxury of playing against one of the worst teams in baseball. San Francisco has gone 8-2 since the All-Star break, including Monday's 7-1 win, which helped the Giants remain in first place in the National League West, 14 games ahead of the fourth-place Padres.

San Francisco also boasts two of the top 20 hitters in baseball this season in Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera, each of whom went 3-for-4 on Monday. Posey also collected four RBIs, giving him an even 60 to go with his .317 batting average. Cabrera, meanwhile, enters Tuesday batting .360.

Neither player has seen Volquez often, as Posey is 1-for-1 and Cabrera is 1-for-5 against the 29-year-old right-hander. As a team, San Francisco has had varying success against Volquez, getting to him for 14 runs in 19 career innings (6.63 ERA), but at the same time holding a 1-2 record in his four starts against the Giants.

Giants: Sandoval has clean start at first base
Regular third baseman Pablo Sandoval moved over to first base for Monday's game vs. the Padres and made it through the game without a hitch.

Sandoval didn't commit any errors in the field while going 1-for-3 at the plate with a walk and a run scored. It marked his first start at first base this season and the 54th of his career. He had to borrow Buster Posey's glove to play first, but he said as long as he's playing, he doesn't care about the position.

"I'm just going to do my best to play my game and win the game," Sandoval said. "No matter where I play, I'll be playing hard and just trying to catch the ball and make the play."

The main reasons Sandoval found himself at first Monday was because of the left-hander on the mound for the Padres and Brandon Belt's recent struggles. Belt, who came in for Sandoval on Monday but did not have an at-bat, enters Tuesday batting just 1-for-his-last-24, with his last hit coming Thursday. Manager Bruce Bochy hopes Belt's day off springs him forward.

"I think it's probably more mental than mechanical, but this is a tough game," Bochy said. "You need to man up and battle through these things. We all go through it, and we all have your tough days and times, but at the same time, the only thing you do is keep working and believe that you're going to get through it. You have to keep that confidence."

• Madison Bumgarner gets the start for the Giants on Tuesday, looking to go 3-0 against the Padres this season. The 22-year-old left-hander gave up just one run in 7 2/3 innings against the Friars on April 29. More recently, his offense helped him to a win over San Diego on June 6, when he last six innings and surrendered four runs on seven hits.

For the season, Bumgarner is 11-6 with a 3.12 ERA.

Padres: Quentin expected to return to lineup Tuesday
Padres manager Bud Black gave Carlos Quentin the day off Monday, but he said the 29-year-old outfielder would be back in the lineup for Tuesday's game against the Giants.

Assuming Quentin plays, Tuesday will be just his 42nd game of the season, as he missed the first 49 games after undergoing surgery on his right knee. Because of that, Black said he is going to monitor" Quentin and give him the occasional day off based on the amount he's played and who is on the mound that day.

"He likes to play, but he understands the big picture," Black said. "And with his knee, he won't play every single day."

• Padres outfielder Alexi Amarista left Monday's game against the Giants after jamming his left thumb sliding headfirst into second in the fifth inning. Amarista had singled earlier in the inning for his only hit of the game.

Worth noting
• The Giants are 30-16 at AT&T Park this season, tying them for second in the Majors with a .652 home winning percentage.

• The Padres dropped to 19-28 on the road Monday, including a 1-3 record at San Francisco. Comments