National League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, August 6th (All times eastern)
San Francisco Giants (59-49) at St. Louis Cardinals (59-49), 8:15 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: San Francisco - Matt Cain (10-4, 2.82) St. Louis - Jake Westbrook (10-8, 3.79)
(Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants are barely holding onto the lead in the National League West and will need a strong effort tonight from Matt Cain to stay in the driver's seat.
Cain gets the nod in the opener of a four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium and is only 1-2 with a 4.31 earned run average in his last six starts. The Giants are 2-4 in that stretch and were unable to get the bats going in Cain's last start on Wednesday, a 2-1 setback to the New York Mets at AT&T Park.
The All-Star right-hander gave up both runs and seven hits in five innings to fall to 10-4 with a 2.82 ERA in 21 starts. Cain, who is 5-1 in 10 road assignments this season, defeated St. Louis back on May 17 despite giving up four runs in six innings of a 7-5 victory. He is 2-2 with a 4.54 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals.
San Francisco received a strong outing from Cain's rotation mate, Tim Lincecum, in Sunday's 8-3 decision over the Colorado Rockies. Lincecum held the Rockies to a run in six frames to help the Giants complete a three-game sweep.
Newcomer Hunter Pence drove in three runs for the Giants, who scored 35 runs in the series and had lost seven of eight entering this set. The Giants are only one-half game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division lead.
"(I'm) just coming over trying to contribute and doing whatever it takes to try and help the team win," said Pence, who was acquired from Philadelphia last week. "We did a lot of things good this series."
Giants catcher Buster Posey had homered in each of his past three games, but ended up going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored on Sunday. Melky Cabrera added two hits and three runs scored in the victory.
San Francisco hopes to keep its recent road success going, as it is 8-4 in its last 12 tests away from the Bay.
St. Louis is coming off a sweep of its own, as it won all three encounters with Milwaukee over the weekend, including last night's 3-0 triumph.
Kyle Lohse struck out six batters through six shutout innings to improve to 12-2 on the season, and three relievers held the Brewers scoreless the rest of the way. Jason Motte tossed the ninth for his 24th save.
"I feel like it's a continuation of what I did last year," Lohse said of his success this season. "I know I had a rough middle part of the season (in 2011), but if you look at the season as a whole, I felt like I did a good job. This year is building off of that."
Daniel Descalso went 3-for-4 with an RBI triple and a run scored for the Cardinals, winners in 12 of the past 16 games. The defending World Series champions are unbeaten in their last six games at Busch Stadium and sit just 2 1/2 games off a Wild Card spot with plenty of time remaining.
Taking the mound for the Cardinals Monday will be Jake Westbrook, who has won his last three starts and six of his past eight decisions. Westbrook barely got by Colorado at Coors Field his previous time out, though, as he permitted five runs and nine hits in six innings in a 9-6 win last Wednesday. Still, he improved to 10-8 with a 3.79 earned run average in 21 starts.
Westbrook, a right-hander, is 6-3 in 11 home starts on the season and will face the Giants for the fourth time in his career -- all starts. He went 0-1 with a 4.67 ERA in the first three performances against San Francisco.
The Cardinals and Giants split two games at AT&T Park back in May, but San Francisco has won six of the past nine meetings between the clubs.
08/06 10:35:09 ET