Day baseball as Cain takes the mound vs. Maya

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Day baseball as Cain takes the mound vs. Maya

June 8, 2011

WASHINGTON (27-34) vs.
GIANTS (34-27)

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.

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers hit a three-run homer to cap San Diego's eight-run sixth inning and the Padres rallied to beat the San Francisco Giants 12-4 on Saturday night.

Myers also singled off Chris Stratton (1-0) to start the big inning and had three hits for the game. San Diego scored 11 runs against the Giants' bullpen following five effective innings from starter Matt Cain.

Allen Cordoba added a three-run homer off Neil Ramirez in the seventh.

The Padres combined for six hits and two walks off Stratton and Ramirez in the sixth. It took the duo 46 pitches to end the inning.

Jhoulys Chacin (3-3) struck out six and gave up three runs, five hits and two walks in five innings.

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

HOUSTON — Andrew Triggs keeps checking off all the right boxes in his first season as a major league starting pitcher.

Coming into the year, manager Bob Melvin said the right-hander’s biggest challenge would be retiring lefty hitters. He’s done that splendidly.

On Saturday, the A’s needed to see if Triggs could bounce back after his first rough outing of 2017. He responded with the best of his 11 career starts, holding a potent Astros lineup off the scoreboard for seven innings as the A’s registered a 2-1 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.

The effective cutter that eluded Triggs when he lost to the Mariners last Sunday was back. Houston’s hitters waved helplessly at the pitch and began their walk back to the dugout all in the same motion, as Triggs rang up a career-high nine strikeouts. His seven innings also were a career high for the 28-year-old.

“We’re not really swinging the bats right now,” Melvin said. “We score two runs and we’re facing a lineup that you expect to score a bunch of runs. So to pitch as well as he did and go through the lineup three times, give us seven innings of work, is pretty good.

“He had the one off-outing, and every outing (besides that) has been pretty spotless.”

Triggs, whose 1.84 ERA ranks seventh in the American League, doesn’t blow people away with his fastball. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot that suggests it might be easy for left-handed hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand. Last season, the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage were all roughly 40 to 50 points higher for lefties than for righties off Triggs.

All he’s done coming out of the gate this season is hold lefties to an .087 batting average (4-for-46). Another revealing stat: Opposing cleanup hitters are 0-for-14 off him.

Triggs credited catchers Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley and, when he’s been up with the big club, Bruce Maxwell for their expertise in calling pitches against lefties.

“They’ve done such a good job keeping the sequences unpredictable,” he said. “You command pitches, you’re gonna get guys out. I know the stereotype is when you throw from the angle that I do, you’re gonna struggle with lefties. I’ve been aware, at least of that profile, for a while. I’ve worked on it quite a bit.”

Triggs had his entire repertoire working Saturday, according to Vogt.

“He was keeping them off-balance. Even when it seemed they were starting to sit on his slider, he starts sneaking some heaters by them. He was outstanding.”

But he had help. First baseman Yonder Alonso made a terrific leaping grab of Josh Reddick’s liner in the fifth that might have gone for extra bases. An inning before that, Jaff Decker made an on-the-money throw to third from deep right field to nail Carlos Beltran tagging up on a fly ball.

“He’s got a good arm so don’t sleep on him at all,” Triggs said.

Given how their month has gone, it’s no surprise the A’s got both their runs on homers. They’ve gone deep 31 times in April, their most homers in the month since they clubbed 34 in 2006. Lowrie, who’s spent two stints with the Astros and owns an offseason home in Houston, went deep to right to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Khris Davis mashed his 10th homer in the eighth for what wound up being an important insurance run when Jose Altuve followed with a homer off Sean Doolittle.

Davis’ teammates by now are accustomed to seeing the left fielder flaunt his opposite-field power. He’s hit three homers this series, all to straightaway right or right-center.

Said Lowrie: “I think at this point it’s fair to call it special.”