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Mon, May 28, 2012 - 5:05 PM ET
 

Diamondbacks-Giants Preview

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San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy doesn't want to think about where his team would be without Melky Cabrera.

The Arizona Diamondbacks would probably like to find out.

Arguably the hottest hitter in baseball, Cabrera will look to continue his roll Monday when the Giants open a seven-game homestand against the Diamondbacks.

San Francisco (25-23) has shown recent signs it may be capable of challenging the major league-leading Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Giants have won seven of 11 and defeated Miami 3-2 on Sunday to complete a 4-3 road trip.

"We'll take it," Bochy told the team's official website. "This has been a tough place for us. We got the series in Milwaukee and this was a huge game, I thought. It has been a pretty good road trip."

No player had a bigger role in Sunday's win than Cabrera, who went 4 for 4 with a solo homer, three runs scored and two steals. It was the third four-hit game this season for Cabrera, the major league leader with 73 hits - the most by a Giants player through 48 games since Willie Mays in 1958.

"I didn't know that I was up there in the ranks of Willie Mays, but I'm honored to be mentioned in the same sentence," Cabrera said through a translator.

Cabrera, whose .369 average ranks second in the NL, went 9 for 18 in the four-game series against the Marlins. He's batting .426 with 17 RBIs this month.

"I can't think where we would be without him," Bochy said.

Bochy's team had lost nine straight to the Diamondbacks (22-26) before Cabrera went 7 for 10 and helped the Giants take the final two of a three-game set at Arizona earlier this month. He is 13 for 28 (.464) with two homers, three doubles and six RBIs in six games this season versus the Diamondbacks, and is a lifetime .381 hitter against them.

The Giants may need Cabrera to continue his hot hitting with struggling Barry Zito (3-2, 3.53 ERA) on the mound.

Zito is 2-2 with a 6.20 ERA in his last four starts and lasted a season-low three innings in Wednesday's 8-5 loss at Milwaukee. He allowed the first six batters to reach base in a 40-pitch first inning and wound up allowing eight runs - four earned - five hits and four walks.

The left-hander beat the Diamondbacks with six strong innings on May 13, but is 4-8 with a 5.21 ERA in 16 career starts against them.

Arizona begins a six-game trip after rallying past the Brewers 4-3 on Sunday for its third win in four games. Aaron Hill went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles as the Diamondbacks won a series at home for the first time since a season-opening sweep of the Giants.

"I hate to keep reverting back to last year. I think everybody's kind of sick of that,'' shortstop Willie Bloomquist said, "but that was kind of the recipe we used last year an awful lot - kind of lackluster for the first five innings and then wake up for an inning and take the lead and shut them down seven-eight-nine.''

The season-opening sweep was part of a season-best four-game winning streak for Arizona, which hopes another effective start from Trevor Cahill (2-4, 3.74) can help the club win three in a row for the first time since April 29-May 1.

After allowing four runs in consecutive outings, the right-hander limited the Dodgers to one run over six innings Tuesday but his bullpen failed to hold the lead in an 8-7 loss.

Cahill had yielded one run in each of his first four career starts against the Giants before he was reached for four over 5 2-3 innings of a 5-2 loss May 12.

Tagged: Giants, Diamondbacks, Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Hill, Melky Cabrera

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