Cain takes the ball in search of sweep of Rockies


Cain takes the ball in search of sweep of Rockies

April 20, 2011

GIANTS (10-7) vs.

Coverage begins at 11:30 A.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

DENVER (AP) -- Colorado hitters have had little success against San Francisco's talented pitching staff this week. Facing Matt Cain in the series finale won't make things any easier.

The NL West-leading Rockies will likely need some rare success against Cain on Wednesday to avoid being swept at home by the surging Giants for the first time in nine years.

Colorado (12-5) has been outscored 14-4 by San Francisco while losing two straight for the first time in 2011. After Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong held the Rockies to four hits in Monday's 8-1 loss, Colorado managed three hits off Jonathan Sanchez and three relievers in a 6-3 defeat Tuesday.

REWIND: Sandoval powers Giants to win over Rockies

Winners in six of seven, the reigning World Series champion Giants (10-7) have scored a combined nine runs in the first inning of the last two games. That's a trend the Rockies must end if they want to avoid being swept by San Francisco at Coors Field for the first time since Aug. 26-29, 2002.

"It would be nice to not spot them four runs," said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who is 0 for 7 in the series. "It's a tough uphill battle for us, especially with the pitchers that they have.

"(Wednesday is) an important game. You don't want anyone coming in here and sweeping you. At the same time, it is April still."

Colorado faces a daunting task against Cain (2-0, 1.42 ERA), who has carried his 2010 postseason success over to 2011.

After pitching 21 1-3 scoreless innings to go 2-0 in three playoff starts, Cain has allowed three runs and 14 hits over 19 innings in his first three outings this year.

"I definitely go back to the postseason where I mentally was and try to use that to my advantage," Cain said.

The right-hander allowed one run and four hits in six innings of a 5-2 win at Arizona on Friday.

"He's really, I think, grown so much over the past year and a half," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's got good poise out there."

Cain enjoyed a great deal of success last season against the Rockies, going 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in four starts. The last two came at Coors Field, where he is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last four starts dating to 2009.

Though Tulowitzki has struggled the last two nights, he is batting .323 on the season and .304 with three homers, two doubles and a triple versus Cain.

Jorge De La Rosa (2-0, 3.18) will oppose Cain, trying to continue his recent success both this season and against the Giants.

The left-hander gave up season highs of four runs, four walks and five hits Thursday in the nightcap of a doubleheader at New York, but his 6 2-3 innings were also a season high and he got credit for the Rockies' 9-4 victory.

De La Rosa is 6-1 with a 2.26 ERA in nine starts versus San Francisco. However, the loss came in his most recent outing against the Giants on Sept. 26, when he allowed three runs and five walks in six innings of a 4-2 defeat at Coors Field.

San Francisco first baseman Aubrey Huff, 3 for 7 with two doubles versus De La Rosa, homered for the second time in three games Tuesday. He has five RBIs during that span.

The Giants could be without center fielder Aaron Rowand, who left Tuesday's game with a bruised left forearm after he was hit by a pitch from Ubaldo Jimenez. Rowand is batting .320.

49ers' first pre-draft visit: Alabama LB Foster

49ers' first pre-draft visit: Alabama LB Foster

PHOENIX – Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster was the first of the 49ers’ 30 pre-draft visits to the team’s Santa Clara facility.

Team general manager John Lynch said the club has already met with Foster, an expected first-round draft pick and the likely top inside linebacker available in the draft.

“We brought in Reuben Foster,” Lynch said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. “He came in, and we had a nice visit with him.”

Foster (6 foot, 229 pounds) was a unanimous first-team All-American and All-SEC pick. He won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. Foster had a controversial trip to the NFL scouting combine. He was sent home after allegedly getting into a confrontation with a hospital worker in Indianapolis.

“I think that’s why you do those things,” Lynch said. “You try to gather information, and react and make decisions accordingly. And so that’s why these things are valuable.”

Derek Carr to be ready for Raiders offseason activities: 'He's fired up'

Derek Carr to be ready for Raiders offseason activities: 'He's fired up'

PHOENIX – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s rehab from a broken fibula has been smooth and steady. He had surgery to repair a bone broken in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, an injury that essentially killed hopes of a Raiders division, conference or league championship.

Carr’s return to health progressed through the winter, leaving him ready to start playing football again soon.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said at this week’s NFL owners meetings that Carr should be a full participant in offseason activities. The offseason program begins April 17, with a few weeks of strength and conditioning.

The first set of OTAs starts on May 22, and Carr is expected to participate fully in those workouts. There are 12 OTAs followed by a three-day mandatory minicamp that ends June 15.

Barring a setback, the Raiders won’t pull the reins on Carr’s participation during that stretch.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to take it easy,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He’s fired up. I got to see him working out with the trainers last week before we came down (to Phoenix). He’s doing well. I think he’s really excited about where it is and how the rehab is going. We expect to have him for all the OTAs and everything.”