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Penny out to prove last start no fluke

Penny out to prove last start no fluke

MILWAUKEE -- Cliff Lee, John Smoltz, Rafael Betancourt, Brad Penny.

They all have something in common. Regardless of success in the American League -- mostly struggles in the case of the latter three -- a midseason shift to the National League has caused a quantum leap in results.

Penny's sample remains a small one, but a good one. His eight innings of shutout ball against the Phillies in his first Giants start last week raised eyebrows across baseball. It was his longest outing of the season after 24 games with Boston, where he had a 7-8 record and ERA of 5.61.

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"Pitchers hit in the NL -- that's the only difference," Penny said Sunday, dismissing the idea anything greater was at work.

Monday's game marks perhaps a more significant test for Penny, pitching on regular rest against San Diego. The right-hander had 11 days of rest between his most recent outing and his final start in Boston -- an ugly four-inning outing that portended his release from the team.

"He took his [bullpen session], and he was fine; there's no concern about that," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Bochy echoed the same sentiment about pitching differences between leagues.

"In the American League, you have the DH," he said. "It's going to be stronger without the pitcher in there. You sign guys to be a DH, so you're going to see stronger lineups on a regular basis. There's not a lot of guys you can pitch around -- in the National League, it's more about strategy."

Pitching matchup
SF: RHP Brad Penny (8-8, 5.28 ERA)
Penny succeeded beyond the Giants' wildest dreams in his San Francisco debut, allowing five hits in eight shutout innings during a 4-0 victory at Philadelphia. Penny became only the third San Francisco Giants player to pitch at least eight shutout innings in his first outing for the club, joining Juan Marichal (1960) and Mike Remlinger (1991), who pitched shutouts. Penny is 3-8 with a 5.76 ERA lifetime against the Padres and 3-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 10 starts at AT&T Park.

SD: LHP Clayton Richard (8-4, 4.61 ERA)
On Tuesday against the Nationals, Richard bounced back from a difficult outing in Atlanta last week -- when he allowed six runs on nine hits in 2 1/3 innings -- to go 6 2/3 innings and allow four hits and one run, striking out six. "I thought his stuff was not all that different from what we've seen," Padres manager Bud Black said. "But I saw a sharper slider, maybe the best we have seen [from Richard] all season. It neutralized [Adam] Dunn, and he had righties swinging over the top of it." Richard attributed his success Tuesday to making "quality pitches early in the count."

Tidbits
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants are the only team in the Majors with a winning record in games in which it has scored exactly three runs. The team won Friday and Saturday by identical 3-2 margins, giving San Francisco a 10-7 record in those contests. ... The Giants have a 19-19 record in one-run games -- and five of the team's last six games have been one-run affairs. ... Jeremy Affeldt recorded his 29th hold of the year Saturday and entered the series finale with a two-hold edge over Carlos Marmol in the Major Leagues. ... Brian Wilson recorded his fourth career five-out save Saturday and first of the season. His 74 saves in the past two seasons is fourth behind only Francisco Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera and Jonathan Papelbon.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• CSN-BA

On radio
• KNBR 680

Up next
• Tuesday: Giants (Tim Lincecum, 13-5, 2.34) vs. Padres (Kevin Correia, 10-10, 4.29), 7:15 p.m. PT
• Wednesday: Giants (Barry Zito, 9-11, 3.95) vs. Padres (Wade LeBlanc, 1-1, 6.06), 12:45 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Off-day

JR Radcliffe is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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