National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, June 13th
(All times Eastern)
Houston Astros (26-35) at San Francisco Giants (35-27), 10:15 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Houston - J.A. Happ (4-6, 4.54)
San Francisco - Matt Cain (7-2, 2.41)
(Sports Network) - Matt Cain overcame some shaky defense behind him last week
to stretch his winning streak to six straight starts, prompting manager Bruce
Bochy to say his club "had the right guy out there."
Among the league leaders in wins and earned run average, it's tough to imagine
a situation when Cain isn't the right guy to have on the mound.
The right-hander tries to match the longest winning streak of his career this
evening when the San Francisco Giants continue a three-game series with the
Cain hasn't lost in seven straight outings since a setback versus the Marlins
on May 1, and his current six-game winning streak that began two starts later
is his best since picking up seven victories in a row from May 7-June 14,
2009. The run has pushed Cain's season record to 7-2 with a 2.41 ERA in 12
Few would have blamed the 27-year-old if he couldn't overcome his club's
mistakes in last Thursday's game against the Padres. The Giants made four
errors in the game, including two during the third inning that made all three
of the runs Cain allowed unearned. The former All-Star, though, worked around
seven hits and a walk while striking out nine in an 8-3 win.
"Matt's unflappable. What a job he did to overcome mistakes," added Bochy.
Cain has struggled in his career versus the Astros, going 1-3 with a 4.69 ERA
in seven outings, including six starts.
Tonight's starter for the Astros, J.A. Happ, has been headed in the opposite
direction of Cain since allowing just one run over 12 innings of back-to-back
wins on May 17-22. He has lost all three of his starts since and lasted a
season-low 4 2/3 innings in Thursday's outing versus the Cardinals.
The left-hander needed 106 pitches to get through the start, including 42 in
the third after opening the game with two scoreless innings. Overall, Happ was
charged with four runs on five hits and five walks while striking out six.
"I felt real good coming out and then in that third I just made it harder than
it needed to be," admitted Happ, who has fanned 23 batters in 18 innings of
his losing streak. "They did a good job of fouling a lot of pitches off and
battled and I let a couple of guys go."
Happ fell to 4-6 with a 4.54 ERA in 12 starts this season. The 29-year-old
will be looking for his first victory both on the road this season and
lifetime versus the Giants. He is 0-2 with a 5.24 ERA in four starts away from
Houston and 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA in two previous encounters with San Francisco.
The Giants finally broke out the lumber at AT&T Park in Tuesday's opener, with
starter Madison Bumgarner hitting his first career homer in the third inning
to snap his club's string of 16 straight home games without a home run.
Bumgarner also was excellent on the hill, allowing two runs -- one earned --
on six hits over 7 2/3 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out a
Perhaps inspired by Bumgarner's hit, Brandon Belt hit his first homer of the
season, a two-run shot, while Melky Cabrera added an RBI hit in San
Francisco's eighth victory in 11 games.
"It feels great. Home runs are why we play I guess," said Belt with a laugh
after going deep for the first time since Sept. 27. "Everybody likes hitting
home runs but my main focus was going up there and having a good at-bat. A
good at-bat turned into a home run."
Brian Bixler drove in two runs and Jason Castro added an RBI double for the
Astros, who had taken two of three from the Chicago White Sox in their
Bud Norris allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings
before leaving due to a knee injury. He also had five strikeouts in defeat.
The Astros won four of seven against the Giants last season, with the clubs
splitting four meetings in San Francisco.
06/13 10:35:40 ET