June 8, 2011
WASHINGTON (27-34) vs.
Coverage begins at 12 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- It's not surprising Matt Cain would prefer to have a lead when he's on the mound.
The San Francisco Giants are struggling to comply at home, but could be in for an improved effort at the plate.
Cain may get some solid backing as he attempts to win consecutive starts for the first time this season when the Giants conclude this three-game series with the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.
Cain (4-4, 3.64 ERA) is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in five starts at AT&T Park, but he might have a better record if the offense could have provided more than eight total runs of support.
Production from the lineup at home has been an issue for San Francisco (34-27), which owns a .233 average while scoring 2.88 runs per game to rank near the bottom of the league in both categories. The club averages 4.09 runs on the road.
The offense sputtered at home again Tuesday, collecting five hits in a 2-1 loss to Washington (27-34) after taking the series opener 5-4 in 13 innings a night earlier.
REWIND: Nats edge Giants, setting up rubber match
Cain didn't need much assistance from his teammates Friday, yielding one run and four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings of a 3-1 home victory over Colorado. He didn't get any runs of support in his two previous outings, losing both.
Getting enough backing seems to put the right-hander at ease on the mound.
"I think most starters feel that way, if you get a two- or three-run lead, that's set in our mind that we want to keep that lead," said Cain, who is 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in four home starts against the Nationals, but hasn't faced them there since a Giants' victory May 12, 2009.
He's lost his last two games against them in Washington, compiling a 6.39 ERA while working with three total runs.
Aubrey Huff is one of the Giants struggling at home, hitting .192 while getting one of his eight homers and eight of his 32 RBIs. He's 2 for 10 with two RBIs in this series after going 0 for 10 when San Francisco dropped three of four in the nation's capital from April 29-May 2.
The Giants are batting .196 against the Nationals this year while being outscored 17-10.
They might be in a favorable position to improve on that since Washington is giving the ball to Yunesky Maya (0-1, 8.00), who is still searching for his first career win.
The right-hander is facing San Francisco for the first time, and he's 0-4 with a 6.43 ERA in seven starts over two seasons. The Nationals are winless when he's taken the mound.
The Cuban right-hander struggled again in his latest outing Friday, giving up four runs and six hits with four strikeouts and three walks in 4 1-3 innings of a 4-0 loss at Arizona.
Maya is getting desperate to get his first victory.
"It worries me a little bit," Maya told the team's official website through catcher and interpreter Ivan Rodriguez. "I want to win badly. That's one of the things I'm always thinking about. When I pitch, I want to win my first major league game. I realize that is not the right way to think. I have to come out the next time and do a good job."
The Nationals have dropped 11 of 15 on the road since last winning consecutive games there May 10-11 at Atlanta.