Having struggled for much of the past month, the San Francisco Giants still have a chance to go into the All-Star break in first place.
They'll likely need a much improved showing from Madison Bumgarner to do it as he faces the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
San Francisco (51-43) was shut out for the sixth time in 19 contests with a 2-0 defeat to Arizona on Saturday. The Giants have dropped 16 of 21 at home and are an NL-worst 9-22 overall since June 9 to see their 9 1/2-game lead in the West disappear.
"It's almost impossible to play the way we've been playing for six months," said Marco Scutaro, who was 0 for 3 in his season debut after being out with a back problem. "It's not a sprint. It's a marathon. Our time is going to come sooner or later. We need to stay strong and keep fighting."
Buster Posey is in a 5-for-34 slump (.147) for the Giants, who have averaged 2.2 runs in their last 19 games while batting .136 with runners in scoring position and .201 overall.
Bumgarner (9-7, 3.36 ERA) hasn't aided his team by going 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA since beating the Diamondbacks in a 4-1 win June 22. The left-hander gave up one unearned run and two hits in eight innings that day, but he's since given up at least five runs in three straight outings. He was tagged for season highs of six runs and 10 hits in seven innings of Tuesday's 6-1 loss in Oakland.
"It (stinks). I felt like I threw the ball pretty good tonight," Bumgarner said. "The line says differently. I felt like I made good pitches. They just happened to find holes."
Bumgarner might have a chance for a better performance against Arizona, given that he's 2-1 with a 1.02 ERA in his last seven matchups. He has a 0.89 ERA in his last three home starts against the Diamondbacks - all in 2013 - but has a 5.16 ERA at AT&T Park this year and is 0-3 in his last four starts there.
Arizona's Vidal Nuno (0-0, 0.00) will make his first start against the Giants and second since being acquired from the New York Yankees last Sunday.
The left-hander tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out a career-high seven in his Diamondbacks debut Tuesday against Miami, but his new team gave up two runs in the ninth in a 2-1 home defeat.
"He was great," manager Kirk Gibson told the team's official website. "Threw all his pitches, moved the ball around, had great command of the strike zone, knew how to use his pitches. He gave us seven great innings. He did his job for sure."
All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has reached base safely in a career-best 32 straight games. It's the longest streak by an Arizona player since Orlando Hudson's 33-game run in 2007.
Goldschmidt is batting .436 during an 11-game hitting streak. He's 3 for 16 against Bumgarner.
The Diamondbacks (40-55) have won four of six and can avoid entering the break with the NL's worst record if they win this game and either Colorado or Chicago loses Sunday.