Matt Cain wouldn't mind seeing the offensive surge continue Monday night in the opener of a four-game set with a St. Louis Cardinals club playing excellent ball at home.
San Francisco (59-49), the division leader by one-half game over Los Angeles, hit .360 with 10 doubles, two triples, five homers and 35 runs while sweeping three games at Colorado, capped by Sunday's 8-3 victory. The weekend was a dramatic improvement after the Giants batted .204 average with one homer and 19 runs during a 1-7 stretch.
"That's the way it has to be," manager Bruce Bochy told the team's official website. "We can't just rely on pitching all the time. We have to find a way to put runs on the board."
Pence is starting to do his part, collecting four hits - three doubles - and four RBIs in the Colorado series. He's 4 for 22 in five games since being acquired from Philadelphia prior to Tuesday's trade deadline.
"It felt good to get some hits that counted and you feel like part of the team," Pence said. "I'm getting to know everyone and just settling in. It feels really good and I'm really excited about this whole opportunity."
Pence may also be excited to face the Cardinals (58-49), since he's hitting .363 in his last 23 regular-season games against them. He's 7 for 14 against Jake Westbrook , St. Louis' scheduled starter Monday.
Cain (10-4, 2.82 ERA) certainly wouldn't mind improved support from Pence and the rest of the Giants' lineup. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his last seven starts, being backed by an average of 3.09 runs in that span.
He didn't get any offensive support Wednesday, while battling through five innings and allowing two runs, seven hits and three walks in a 2-1 loss to New York.
Cain is 2-2 with a 4.54 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals, including a 7-5 home victory while yielding four runs in six innings May 17.
St. Louis (59-49) has won six in a row at home after completing a three-game sweep of Milwaukee with Sunday's 3-0 victory. The Cardinals are three games back of Pittsburgh for the second NL wild card.
"It's still a little early to be checking scoreboards and stuff," said Daniel Descalso , who was 6 for 10 with three RBIs in the Brewers series. "But we've been playing pretty well. It's nice to come home and get three wins."
Westbrook (10-8, 3.79) has won four of his last five home starts behind a 3.03 ERA.
He's also won three in a row overall, but struggled in his latest outing Wednesday, allowing five runs, nine hits and four walks in six innings of a 9-6 victory at Colorado.
Westbrook is 0-1 with a 4.67 ERA in three career starts against the Giants, all ending in Cardinals losses.
Matt Holliday is batting .451 with seven homers and 21 RBIs in his last 22 home games. However, he's 4 for 18 with one RBI in his last five home games against the Giants, and is 7 for 37 (.189) with three homers lifetime versus Cain.
|San Francisco Giants|
|July 31, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Strained right knee|
|July 25, 2012||Pablo Sandoval||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|July 18, 2012||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left knee sprain|
|July 18, 2012||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left knee sprain|
|July 17, 2012||Hector Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Left knee sprain|
|June 26, 2012||Shane Loux||15-Day DL||Strained neck|
|St. Louis Cardinals|
|August 03, 2012||Lance Berkman||15-Day DL||Right knee inflammation|
|July 28, 2012||Rafael Furcal||Day-to-Day||Stiff back|
|July 26, 2012||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Left game - right calf cramp|
|July 24, 2012||Lance Berkman||Day-to-Day||Left game - HBP right knee|
|July 17, 2012||Matt Holliday||Day-to-Day||Left game - Left thigh|
|July 08, 2012||David Freese||Day-to-Day||Bruised left leg|
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Jake Westbrook received an early wake-up call Monday night.
The St. Louis right-hander shook off a second-pitch homer by Angel Pagan and rallied to throw six solid innings as the St. Louis Cardinals beat Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants 8-2.
"I made a mistake to the first hitter and then after that I settled in," Westbrook said. "I threw the game I think I'm capable of throwing."
Carlos Beltran hit his 26th homer for the Cardinals, who have won four in a row overall and seven straight at home. San Francisco had a three-game winning streak stopped.
Jon Jay went 4 for 4 and drove in two runs. Matt Carpenter added a two-run, bases-loaded single.
Buster Posey also connected for the Giants.
Westbrook (11-8) won his fourth decision in a row, giving up seven hits and two runs. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Westbrook has gone at least six innings in his last 11 starts.
But the night started off on the wrong foot for Westbrook, who quickly shook off the early blow to post four successive scoreless innings.
Westbrook began the four-game run with a three-hit, seven-inning shutout performance in a 12-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on July 21.
He continued to roll on Monday giving up one run on five hits over his final five innings.
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny was particularly impressed with Westbrook's ability to bounce back from the early home run.
"You never know when you start the game with a leadoff (homer) like that," Matheny said. "He was able to stay in there and find that sinker. He did a great job."
Cain (10-5) tied a season high by giving up five earned runs in 5 2-3 innings. The three-time All-Star absorbed back-to-back losses for the second time this season. Cain has allowed nine home runs in his last seven starts.
Cain, who has allowed 28 earned runs in 57 1-3 innings for a 4.40 ERA since throwing a perfect game on June 13, said he felt fine.
"I just need to make better pitches and get quicker outs," he said. "I've got to put away guys better."
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy felt Cain threw better than his numbers showed.
"He was OK, they just did a great job of hitting him," Bochy said. "I thought he had good stuff. That's a good hitting ballclub. They're not at the top offensively for no reason."
Cain's ERA moved to 3.01, the highest total since it sat at 7.50 after a 7-6 loss at Arizona on April 8 - his first outing of the season.
Jay paced a 12-hit attack with his second four-hit performance of the season. He also went 4 for 4 in a 7-0 win over the Chicago Cubs on July 22.
"Today I was able to get some hits and we got a big win," Jay said. "We've got to keep it going. We've got a short amount of games left and some ground to make to up. If we keep doing what we're doing, we're going to be all right."
With the win, St. Louis moved within six games of Cincinnati in the NL Central.
The Cardinals scored three times in the sixth to break a 2-all tie.
Matt Holliday doubled and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by David Freese . Yadier Molina and Jay followed with singles and Cain walked Rafael Furcal to load the bases for Carpenter, who drove a two-strike pitch to left field.
The Cardinals added three runs in the seventh to go up 8-2. Jay's two-run single was the key hit.
Beltran, who leads the NL with 78 RBIs, hit the first pitch of the second inning 418 feet to tie it at 1. Four batters later, Furcal broke out of an 0-for-14 slump with an RBI single the 10th pitch from Cain.
Pagan's first-inning homer was his seventh of the season. Posey tied it at 2 with his 17th homer in the sixth.
NOTES: Molina extended his hitting streak to a season-long 10 games as did Posey. ... St. Louis INF Daniel Descalso hit in the leadoff spot for just the sixth time this season. ... Holliday has seven homers and 21 RBIs in his last 23 home games. ... Lance Lynn (13-4, 3.40) faces Giants LHP Barry Zito (8-8, 4.27) in the second game of the four-game series Tuesday. ... The Giants have picked up LHP Jose Mijares from Kansas City on waivers. They will announce a roster move in the next two days.