After nearly witnessing the second perfect game in franchise history, the Giants are hoping to see a strong outing from their only pitcher to accomplish that momentous feat.
Matt Cain will try to have a successful return from his first stint on the disabled list and help the Giants put another dent in the Diamondbacks’ faint playoff hopes Saturday night.
Yusmeiro Petit, who took Cain’s spot in the rotation, was within one out of perfection Friday, but Eric Chavez’s pinch-hit single landed just in front of a diving Hunter Pence in right field. The 3-0 victory dropped Arizona eight games behind Cincinnati in the race for the NL’s final wild card berth with 22 left to play.
Cain (8-8, 4.43 ERA) will try to hinder the Diamondbacks’ postseason hopes in his first game back from a bruised right forearm. The right-hander suffered the injury when he was hit by a line drive in a 10-5 loss to Pittsburgh on Aug. 22.
“We were fortunate there was no fracture and so was he,” manager Bruce Bochy said after that game. “That ball was smoked. It caught him flush.”
Cain is 4-0 with a 2.57 ERA in his last seven starts against the Diamondbacks, losers in six of nine, and 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA in his last four home matchups. He gave up two runs over five innings in his most recent meeting with Arizona, a 4-3 victory at AT&T Park on July 20.
The Diamondbacks (71-69) are hitting .235 in its last nine games — 23 points lower than their season average — and have produced 20 runs. The D-backs have scored 18 runs in their past nine contests against the giants while batting .227.
The Giants (63-78) have won 10 of 14 over their NL West rivals, and they’ll face a struggling Brandon McCarthy in this game.
McCarthy (3-9, 4.94) is 1-6 with a 5.92 ERA in his last seven starts, the last six occurring since a return from the disabled list (right shoulder inflammation). The right-hander earned a 6-1 win over the Padres on Aug. 26, allowing one unearned run over seven innings, but suffered a complete-game loss to the Blue Jays on Monday. He gave up four runs and five hits in that 4-1 defeat and has received two runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts.
“He threw well and gave us a chance to win,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “We just didn’t hit.”
McCarthy did not get a decision in his only start against the Giants, which came on May 1. He allowed four runs and eight hits over six innings in that 9-6 defeat.
Pence and Angel Pagan homered and doubled off him in that game. Pence, batting .500 (12 for 24) with three homers in his last seven games, is 5 for 10 with four extra-base hits in his career against McCarthy.
The Giants likely won’t have catcher Buster Posey for this rest of this series. He has missed the past three games with a broken right ring finger.