Giants-Angels Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 17, 2012
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said special moments like Matt Cain's perfect game "bring teams together even more." Having lost three of four since, the Giants may be hoping the right-hander has another gem in store Monday night. Cain will take the mound for the first time since making history last week, visiting a Los Angeles Angels team that's been stellar on the mound as well recently. The Giants (37-30) have struggled since Cain pitched baseball's 22nd perfect game in a 10-0 win over Houston on Wednesday, losing the next day to the Astros before dropping two of three at Seattle over the weekend. They allowed a run in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday to lose 2-1 after going 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position. "Timely hits, that's what wins games for you and we were missing that today,'' Bochy said. Cain (8-2, 2.18 ERA) looks to help San Francisco get back on track after striking out 14 Wednesday - tied with Sandy Koufax for the most in a perfect game. He's won his last seven starts while posting a 1.99 ERA and hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 20 innings. He said his stellar outing is a moment he'll never forget, but it's time to move on. "It's in your mind, obviously," Cain told the team's official website. "But I'm not going to think about that. It's a hard thing to duplicate." No one has tossed multiple perfect games. Even Johnny Vander Meer, the only pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters in 1938, walked eight in the second contest. Of the 17 pitchers to throw a perfect game since the White Sox's Charlie Robertson in 1922, only five won their next start. The last nine - including Phil Humber, who retired all 27 hitters on April 21 - are a combined 3-4 with a 5.56 ERA following their history-making performance. It's been nearly six years to the day since Cain's lone look at the Angels (36-31), but that start went awfully well also. He held Los Angeles to one hit and an unearned run in eight innings June 19, 2006, striking out 10. The Angels have had their own success on the mound lately, earning consecutive 2-0 wins against Arizona on Saturday and Sunday. Ervin Santana flirted with perfection before pitching a one-hitter, then Garrett Richards and Ernesto Frieri combined on a four-hitter in the finale to increase Los Angeles' major league-leading shutout total to nine. Jerome Williams (6-4, 4.20) will look to add another solid performance to the list against his former team. Williams gave up one run through seven innings Tuesday but surrendered four in the eighth - including a three-run, two-out homer that earned him the hook - of a 5-2 loss to the Dodgers. He's given up 12 runs in his last two outings after going 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA in his previous four. Williams, who made 46 starts for the Giants from 2003-05, has faced his former team only once, taking the loss Sept. 9, 2005, after being traded to the Chicago Cubs. If he plans on winning Monday, he may need to limit the damage. Los Angeles has won seven of nine, but it's scored no more than two runs while going 3-2 in its last five. Albert Pujols - who is 8 for 14 with two homers, a double and four walks lifetime versus Cain - hit a solo homer Sunday, and Mike Trout had an RBI double. "We need to get our club offensively to put a little more pressure on teams than we have," manager Mike Scioscia told the team's official website. "In the past six games, we've scored 11 runs. We have to be better than that, and we are better than that." The Angels have won four straight against the Giants, including a three-game sweep June 15-17, 2009, the last time the teams met.
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