May 13, 2011
GIANTS (21-16) vs.
Coverage begins at 10:30 A.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
CHICAGO (AP) -- An undefeated homestand helped propel the San Francisco Giants into sole possession of first place in the NL West for the first time this season. A weekend in Chicago could help them remain at the top.
The Giants look for a seventh consecutive win overall while trying to continue their success against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Friday.
Following a 1-4 start, the reigning World Series champions have climbed back atop the division by one game over Colorado after giving up 10 runs while sweeping a six-game homestand against the Rockies and Arizona.
"That's definitely the homestand we needed," said Matt Cain, who pitched 7 2-3 innings to earn the victory in Thursday's 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks.
URBAN: Cain masterful, Giants win again
The Giants (21-16), winners in eight of nine, will try to continue that success at Wrigley, where they've held a 26-10 scoring advantage while taking four of the last six. San Francisco has won six of eight overall against the Cubs.
The club hopes pitching in Chicago will help Madison Bumgarner (0-5, 4.21 ERA) earn his first win in his eighth start. The left-hander is 1-0 with a 2.13 ERA in two starts against the Cubs, earning the win while striking out nine in seven innings of a 13-0 victory at Wrigley on Sept. 23.
Despite his 2011 record, Bumgarner has allowed two earned runs and struck out 19 over 19 innings during his last three starts. His teammates, however, have totaled three runs in those games.
All those came in a 3-2 win over Colorado on Saturday - the Giants' first victory in Bumgarner's seven starts. He pitched six shutout innings before allowing the first four batters to reach in the seventh, resulting in two runs - one earned.
"I don't care if I don't win a game all year if we win; if it works out like that, I don't care," Bumgarner told the Giants' official website.
Andres Torres doubled Thursday and went 4 for 10 with two RBIs in the three-game set with Arizona in his return after missing a month with a strained Achilles' tendon. The center fielder is 6 for 16 with two doubles and two RBIs in his last five games versus Chicago, but 0 for 7 with three strikeouts against scheduled starter Ryan Dempster (1-4, 7.20).
The right-hander is 2-8 with a 5.28 ERA in 13 starts versus San Francisco after allowing nine runs in 1 2-3 innings while losing to Bumgarner in September. Dempster, however, has been solid despite an 0-1 record in his last two outings overall, giving up three runs and 11 hits in 14 innings against the Dodgers and Reds.
He will try to help the Cubs (16-20) bounce back after dropping two of three to both Cincinnati and St. Louis to begin a nine-game homestand.
"This is a tough stretch," manager Mike Quade said. "The frustration for me is that we're inconsistent."
One day after breaking out for an 11-4 win over the Cardinals, Chicago went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position in Thursday's 9-1 loss to St. Louis. The Cubs are among the major league leaders batting .276, but are hitting .227 with runners in scoring position.
"You start pressing on it and it becomes its own monster," said utilityman Jeff Baker, who had three hits Thursday.
Chicago is batting .176 in its last six home games versus San Francisco, but Alfonso Soriano - hitting .304 with five homers and eight RBIs his last 12 games - is 3 for 5 with three doubles versus Bumgarner.