MLB

Cain draws start in Giants' crucial series against Dodgers

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The Sports Network
9/8/2012 11:59:52 AM
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(Sports Network) - Matt Cain aims to stretch San Francisco's lead atop the National League West on Saturday when the Giants continue a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at AT&T Park.

Cain, though, will need to be better than he was on Sunday in Chicago when the lowly Cubs ripped him for five runs and six hits in five innings. He did not get a decision in that one, but the Giants won, 7-5.

"I thought he had good stuff today," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He just made a couple of mistakes."

It was just the fourth time this season Cain failed to go at least six innings, but three of those starts have come in the past five weeks. Still, he's 13-5 on the year with a 2.98 ERA.

Cain started his career by losing eight consecutive decisions to the Dodgers, but he is 4-0 with a 2.02 ERA in his last seven starts against them. His most recent win came on Aug. 22 when he limited the Dodgers to a run in seven innings.

Opposing Cain will be Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano, who is 11-10 with a 3.63 ERA, but has just one win in his last eight starts. Capuano did not get a decision on Sunday against Arizona, as he surrendered three runs and four hits in five innings of a 5-4 win.

Capuano lost to Cain and the Giants in that Aug. 22 encounter and is a mere 1-6 lifetime against them with a 5.58 ERA in 11 games (7 starts).

San Francisco drew first blood in this set on Friday, as Marco Scutaro slapped a go-ahead, two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning, lifting the Giants to a 5-2 triumph.

Angel Pagan registered three hits, an RBI and a run scored, while Brandon Crawford scored twice for the Giants, who have won four straight against the Dodgers and extended their NL West lead to 5 1/2 games over L.A.

Santiago Casilla (7-5) earned the victory for recording the final two outs of the seventh inning in relief of starter Tim Lincecum, who allowed two runs on four hits and a career-high seven walks.

"It started with Timmy and the great job he did," Bochy said of his starter. "He did a terrific job tonight and once we got some guys on base we had some timely hits."

Josh Beckett (1-2) was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings, while Adam Kennedy clubbed a solo shot in the setback, the Dodgers' third in a row.

"I gotta pitch better," Beckett admitted. "They didn't bring me over here to pitch okay, they brought me over here to pitch good and that's what I need to do."

The last three series between the Giants and Dodgers have all ended in sweeps, with the Giants winning two of them, including a three-game set from Aug. 20-22. The two teams will close the season with a three-game set in Los Angeles.

Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals

(Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals weren't able to outlast the Milwaukee Brewers in the opener of this set, so they'll try to gain a measure of revenge tonight in the middle portion of a three-game series.

Brewers slugger Ryan Braun clubbed a solo home run off Cardinals reliever Lance Lynn in the top of the 13th inning to lead his team to victory. Lynn was saddled with the loss for the Cardinals, who still possess one of the final two wild card spots in the National League.

Jake Westbrook gets the nod for St. Louis and is 1-2 in his last four starts since a personal five-game winning streak. Westbrook did not factor in the outcome of a 4-3 setback at Washington on Sunday, as he yielded two runs in 5 1/3 innings. He is 13-10 in 27 starts this season with a 3.93 ERA.

Taking the mound for Milwaukee tonight will be Mike Fiers. Fiers has lost three of his last five trips to the mound and previously pitched in Monday's 7-3 setback at Marlins Park. He was tagged for six runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings, falling to 8-7 in 18 games (17 starts) with a 3.11 ERA.

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

(Sports Network) - On the heels of throwing three consecutive shutouts and with the masterful Kris Medlen on the mound, the Atlanta Braves can establish a team record today when they resume a three-game series with the New York Mets.

Atlanta has never thrown four straight shutouts. The Braves, who continue to be one of the top teams in the wild card standings, have a 28-inning shutout streak intact, which is eight innings shy of the team record. That was set April 26 - May 1, 1992 when the Braves had Tom Glavine and John Smoltz spearheading a club that made it to the World Series for a second straight year.

Medlen, who was voted the NL Pitcher of the Month for August, is riding an incredible 12-0 mark over his last 23 starts, dating back to May 31, 2009. Last month, the right-hander posted a 4-0 record and a major league-best 0.50 ERA, by allowing two earned runs in 35 2/3 innings. He struck out 35 batters and walked only four.

The Mets turn to rookie right-hander Jeremy Hefner, who hasn't won since Aug. 4 at San Diego. Hefner pitched in relief of Johan Santana when the Mets lost, 9-3, to Medlen and the Braves on Aug. 11 at Citi Field.

Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

(Sports Network) - Right-hander James McDonald tries again to return to first- half consistency tonight when the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Chicago Cubs in the middle game of a three-game series at PNC Park.

The 27-year-old Californian was 9-2 at the All-Star break and picked up his 10th victory on July 18, but has won just twice in eight starts since while his earned run average has climbed from under three (2.93) to nearly four (3.90).

The Cubs go with righty Jeff Samardzija, who tries to snap a winless drought that stretches back to Aug. 13.

He's 0-3 in four starts since defeating Houston, and has subsequently gone 0-3 and allowed 11 runs in 26 hits in 26 innings, while his ERA has actually dropped from 4.06 to 3.91.

He's 2-0 in 12 career meetings with the Pirates, including an eight-inning gem on July 23 in which he allowed two hits and struck out five in a 2-0 victory.

Matt Cain (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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