The San Francisco Giants have started to pick up steam thanks to an impressive performance at the plate.
While they may need to battle the elements, a visit to Wrigley Field isn't likely to cool them off.
Seeking a fourth consecutive win, the Giants look to continue their recent success against the Chicago Cubs as these teams open a four-game set Thursday afternoon.
After hitting .224 and scoring 15 runs during a 3-3 start, San Francisco (6-3) found its offense during a three-game sweep of Colorado. The Giants hit .365 and outscored the Rockies 23-8, including Wednesday's 10-0 win.
"The boys came out swinging," winning pitcher Barry Zito said. "They were starting to click on all cylinders offensively, which was great because a lot of people underestimate our offense. And days like today really show what we can offer."
The Giants are surely feeling good about their chances of keeping things going against the Cubs (3-5), who have hit .210 while dropping seven of eight in the series. San Francisco has also won eight of 13 at Wrigley while going 36 for 124 (.290) in RBI situations.
Batting .198 thus far, Chicago had been outscored 22-11 during a four-game skid before breaking through with a combined five runs in the seventh and eighth innings in Tuesday's 6-3 win over Milwaukee. David DeJesus had three hits and combined with Anthony Rizzo for four RBIs.
"It is very exciting to come back and win," Scott Hairston said. "I think throughout the season we will learn that we can come back no matter what the score is."
While the Cubs were looking forward to building on their come-from-behind effort, Wednesday's series finale was postponed due to inclement weather.
"I think you always want to keep playing after you win, and you had a little momentum," manager Dale Sveum told MLB's official website. "Guys had some good at-bats. So it's not one of those things where you don't want to play. But there was nothing you could do about today. I don't even know if it's football weather."
Chicago gives the ball to Scott Feldman (0-1, 7.71 ERA), who gave up four runs, five hits and four walks before being removed with two outs in the fifth inning of Friday's 4-1 loss at Atlanta in his Cubs debut.
"He threw a lot of pitches that were uncompetitive pitches," Sveum said. "He was managing to get through a night where he didn't have much command of anything."
The Giants counter with Ryan Vogelsong (0-1, 8.44), who was also knocked around in season debut. The right-hander surrendered five runs and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings of Saturday's 6-3 loss to St. Louis.
"I just didn't make enough pitches," he said. "It's what it comes down to. I didn't feel like I pitched terrible. It was just one of those days."
Vogelsong, though, is 3-1 with a 3.13 ERA over his last four starts against the Cubs. He'll need to be wary of Alfonso Soriano , who's gone 5 for 12 with a homer in their matchups.
Chicago's Nate Schierholtz , who spent the first five-plus seasons of his career with San Francisco before being sent to Philadelphia in the Pence trade in July, faces his former club for the first time. The right fielder is batting .304 with a team-leading five runs.
|San Francisco Giants|
|March 22, 2013||Brett Pill||15-Day DL||Recovery from minor knee surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Eric Surkamp||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Tony Abreu||15-Day DL||Left knee strain|
|March 31, 2013||Scott Baker||60-Day DL||Strained right elbow|
|March 31, 2013||Darwin Barney||15-Day DL||Left knee laceration|
|March 27, 2013||Arodys Vizcaino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Ian Stewart||15-Day DL||Strained left quad|
|March 22, 2013||Matt Garza||15-Day DL||Strained left lat|
|March 03, 2013||Matt Garza||Day-to-Day||Strained left lat|
CHICAGO (AP) -- Bruce Bochy wasn't tempted to take out Ryan Vogelsong when he faltered early, and the pitcher rewarded his manager's confidence with a fine finish.
Vogelsong gave up five early runs before retiring his final 10 batters and helped his cause by walking with the bases loaded as the San Francisco Giants rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Thursday.
"He was out of sync, even said he was having a hard time getting the ball where he wanted," Bochy said. "But he got in a good groove there after that one inning and started getting pitches where he wanted and he got in a good rhythm there."
Vogelsong (1-1) yielded eight hits and five runs in the first three innings before going on a solid run in a foggy and damp, 40-degree day to help the World Series champion Giants win their fourth straight.
"I still don't feel all that great after that," Vogelsong said. "I just was trying to throw the ball and hopefully things were going to change, and they did. We started hitting the ball and some people made some really good plays."
Trailing 5-0 after three innings, the Giants got some help in staging their comeback: Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro 's a two-out fielding error spurred a four-run fourth.
With runners on first and third in the fourth, Castro botched Vogelsong's grounder, allowing the first run to score. Scott Feldman (0-2) then gave up an RBI single to Angel Pagan and hit Brandon Crawford with a pitch ahead of Sandoval's double that pulled the Giants to 5-4.
"I think that one is basically not understanding that the pitcher hit the ball and you had plenty of time," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said about Castro's error. "You didn't have to overcharge the ball and overcook that whole play."
Added Castro: "It's really frustrating. I feel bad myself because that's a routine play and that's not supposed to happen. I tried to be too fast but I can learn; that play can't happen again."
Feldman allowed a single to Brandon Belt and walked Gregor Blanco after getting one out in the fifth. Hisanori Takahashi relieved and Nick Noonan singled to load the bases. Vogelsong then walked to force in a run and Pagan put the Giants ahead with a flyball to left field. Brandon Crawford then singled in a run to make it 7-5.
Feldman lasted just 4 1-3 innings and gave up six runs - two earned - on seven hits. He walked three and struck out three.
"We came back yesterday against the Rockies," Crawford said. "We have a lot of good guys in our lineup, so we've battled back before. We did it last year in the playoffs and we have a lot of similar players back this year, so we know how to battle back, for sure."
Jeremy Affeldt relieved Vogelsong after the sixth but he faltered in the eighth and was lifted after Alfonso Soriano doubled and Nate Schierholtz reached on a broken bat infield single. Santiago Casilla came on and got Welington Castillo to hit into a double play that scored Soriano to make it 7-6.
Luis Valbuena followed with a double to deep center, but pinch-hitter Steve Clevenger ended the inning looking at a third strike.
Giants closer Sergio Romo allowed a one-out double to David DeJesus in the ninth but finished for his sixth save.
"I feel pretty good right now," Romo said. "It's a long season and I still have a lot of work to do. I'm real happy with the way I've started, but I just try to do the best I can for my teammates."
Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer in the third inning to give Chicago a 5-0 lead. Brent Lillibridge broke an 0-for-17 start to the season with a two-run single in the second for the Cubs.
NOTES: San Francisco is in the midst of playing five consecutive day games (including four scheduled at Wrigley Field) for the first time since April 17-21, 1996. . The Giants have now won eight of their last nine games vs. the Cubs. ... Friday's probable pitchers: Giants RHP Matt Cain (0-1) vs. Cubs RHP Carlos Villanueva (0-0). ... Former Blackhawks great and NHL Hall of Famer Tony Esposito was guest conductor during the seventh inning stretch's "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." ... Thursday marked the earliest date for the Giants to play at Wrigley Field in the team's 131-year history. The previous earliest visit to Wrigley was April 13, 1963.