MLB

Sat, Apr 9, 2011 - 10:05 PM ET
 

Cardinals-Giants Preview

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The San Francisco Giants recorded numerous big hits en route to winning the 2010 World Series.

After raising their championship banner, Aaron Rowand provided another one in the home opener.

The Giants look for their clutch hitting to carry over following Saturday night's ring ceremony as they continue their three-game set with the visiting St. Louis Cardinals.

San Francisco (3-4) defeated St. Louis 5-4 in 12 innings Friday thanks to Rowand's bases-loaded single.

"Everyone just grinded it out together," reliever Dan Runzler said. "It was a lot of fun. It reminded me of last year."

Rowand, hitting .600, finished the day 2 for 3 and third baseman Pablo Sandoval went 3 for 5 with an RBI and improved his average to .440. San Francisco recorded a season-best 15 hits Friday.

While the Giants' bats stayed hot, its bullpen, which played a huge role in its World Series run, stumbled.

Closer Brian Wilson, who was 1-0 with six saves and an ERA of 0.00 over 11 2-3 innings during the 2010 postseason, allowed two runs and two hits in two-thirds of an inning while blowing a 4-3 lead.

Wilson missed the beginning of the season due to a strained left oblique muscle, and his ERA is 33.75 after two appearances. Manager Bruce Bochy plans to use Wilson more conservatively in the immediate future.

"Oh well, it's what happens," Wilson said. "You get caught up in the moment and you get a little angry. I jaunted, vented, got it out of my system, then sat downstairs and watched the Giants come back."

San Francisco's starters, meanwhile, have compiled a 2.27 ERA through the first seven games, and Matt Cain will do his best to extend that trend.

Since allowing six runs in his last regular-season start of 2010, Cain, who scattered five hits in six innings of last Saturday's 10-0 road win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, has gone 27 1-3 innings - including the postseason and World Series - without allowing an earned run.

"He's always been tough, but it seems like over the last couple of years, he's been using more of his pitches and he's turned into a handful," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Cain, who is 1-1 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts against St. Louis at home.

Cain's opposition, Jaime Garcia (1-0, 0.00), also impressed in his season debut, throwing a four-hitter while striking out nine during Sunday's 2-0 win over San Diego - his second career shutout.

The Giants know all too well of Garcia's talents, as the left-hander got his other shutout at their expense Aug. 22 with a three-hitter in a 9-0 rout.

St. Louis (2-5) had another quiet day at the plate Friday and went 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position. The Cardinals, who averaged 4.5 runs last season, have scored just 19 through their first seven games.

"We just haven't put it together yet. Right now we are 2-5 and by the St. Louis Cardinals' standards that's unacceptable," reliever Brian Tallet said. "We're going to be good. We're going to win ballgames. We just have to put the pieces together."

Three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols was 1 for 6 Friday and is hitting .179 on the season. Pujols, though, is 8 for 12 with two home runs lifetime against Cain.

Leadoff hitter Ryan Theriot, though, has managed just three hits in 20 at-bats against the right-hander.

Tagged: Cardinals, Giants, Aaron Rowand, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson

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