Pirates-Giants Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 13, 2012
Though the San Francisco Giants had hoped to fare better during the first week of the season, they'll head home with some momentum. The Giants look to build on a winning series when they open play at AT&T Park with Matt Cain on the mound Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After dropping three straight one-run games at Arizona, San Francisco (2-4) took two of three at Colorado. Madison Bumgarner took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and Melky Cabrera had two RBIs in Thursday's 4-2 win over the Rockies. "They came back and bounced back well," manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants' official website. San Francisco should look forward to beginning play at home, where it's won more than 60 percent of its games over the last three seasons. "It will be nice to come home," said closer Brian Wilson, who needed 32 pitches to nail down his first save Thursday. "We're just going to go into it and take in all the special moments and then play a nice nine-inning ballgame. We'll go from there. We feed off the energy in San Francisco. It will be nice to play in front of all Giants fans." Though it could be tough to follow Bumgarner's stellar performance, Cain takes the ball Friday trying to rebound from a disappointing 2012 debut. It may help that he'll be making his first home start since signing a new six-year, $127.5 million contract. "It was really cool to see how much (of a reaction) it got from fans and from my teammates," Cain said. "They're so excited and it pumps you up. And it makes you ready for the season." The right-hander was staked to a 6-0 lead after three innings Sunday at Arizona, but he allowed five runs in the next three innings and the Giants went on to lose 7-6. "You have to stay on your game and not let anything slip," Cain said. "That happened (Sunday) a little bit." Cain is 1-2 in eight career starts versus Pittsburgh, although he has a 3.63 ERA with the Giants winning five times. He has a 3.51 ERA without a decision in four at home against the Pirates. Though Pittsburgh took two of three at San Francisco last season, the Pirates (2-4) totaled four runs while being swept in a three-game set at Los Angeles this week. Pittsburgh, which lost 3-2 at Dodger Stadium on Thursday, has scored two runs or fewer in five of its six games. All but one of the Pirates' contests this season have been decided by one run. "(We're) just looking for different ways to generate some offense," manager Clint Hurdle told the Pirates' official website. Andrew McCutchen had three hits Thursday for the Pirates, who went 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position in the series at Los Angeles. Despite his team's struggles at the plate, McCutchen is 9 for 22 (.409) in 2012. He was 4 for 11 with two doubles and a homer at San Francisco last year but is 1 for 10 versus Cain. James McDonald takes the mound for the Pirates after he allowed two runs in six innings but did not factor in the decision of a 5-4 win over Philadelphia on Sunday. "When I assess myself, I know there are times when I'm good and times when I'm bad," McDonald said during spring training. "I need to find that consistency more often." The right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA in three starts against the Giants. Cabrera, 10 for 26 with a homer and five RBIs in his first six games with San Francisco, is batting .357 (10 for 28) in his last seven versus Pittsburgh.
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