(SportsNetwork.com) - Red-hot right-hander Henderson Alvarez aims for a fifth straight start without a loss on Sunday afternoon, when his Miami Marlins visit Petco Park for the finale of a four-game series with the San Diego Padres.
Alvarez has three shutouts in his last eight outings and is unbeaten in his last four -- going 2-0 with a stingy 1.80 earned run average, with shutouts in both victories.
He dominated the New York Mets on Tuesday, allowing six hits, striking out seven batters and not walking anyone in a 3-0 triumph.
He's the first pitcher to toss three shutouts in eight starts since Seattle's Felix Hernandez had three in five starts in 2012.
"When you see nights like this, you realize this guy has a chance to be really, really good," manager Mike Redmond said. "It just comes down to consistency for him."
The first of the three shutouts was a no-hitter in his last start of 2012.
"When you get in a roll, the game moves fast," Alvarez said. "I was thinking about trying to throw all my pitches down, hitting on my breaking pitches and trying to get the hitters to swing early."
He has never faced the Padres.
San Diego replies with lefty Robbie Erlin, who had a strong effort in a no- decision on Tuesday against Kansas City.
Erlin allowed three hits in seven innings against the Royals, who won the game, 3-1.
Still, it did end a streak of losses in four straight starts.
The Padres have scored just one run in his last three starts and they've averaged 1.73 runs for him this season.
On Saturday, Seth Smith finished a single short of the cycle as the Padres took a 9-3 win in game three.
Smith had four RBI and scored twice, Chase Headley hit a three-run home run and Everth Cabrera scored three times for the Padres, who have won the past two after dropping the opener in 11 innings on Thursday.
Eric Stults (2-3) gave up two runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts over six innings for the win.
Casey McGehee hit a two-run home run and Reed Johnson drove in a run for the Marlins, who have dropped their past two after having a five-game winning streak snapped.
Nathan Eovaldi was touched for two runs on seven hits over five innings in the start.
Carlos Marmol (0-3) gave up four runs in the sixth to take the loss.
The Padres lost two of the three games in south Florida early last month and are 8-11 in the past 19 meetings between the teams.