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Giants-Cardinals Preview

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Tyler Lyons has dominated in his short stay with the St. Louis Cardinals.

That could continue for the rookie left-hander given the San Francisco Giants' struggles at the plate.

Lyons will make his first start at Busch Stadium on Sunday when the NL Central leaders go for their first five-game win streak against the Giants in two decades.

Called up from Triple-A Memphis on May 22 due to injuries to Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia, Lyons (2-0, 1.29 ERA) has thrown seven innings of one-run ball in each of his first two starts. He set down 17 straight between the two hits he surrendered in Tuesday's 4-1 win over Kansas City.

"He had a little trouble at first finding his fastball, but he had his breaking ball going today and that kept them off balance,'' manager Mike Matheny said.

Lyons, though, isn't going to get too overconfident.

"Everyone's goal is to get here," he told the Cardinals' official website. "But at the same time, you want to get here and do well. Hopefully, I can keep it going."

St. Louis (37-18) starters have allowed three or fewer runs in 13 consecutive games, a streak that continued after Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright gave up one total run in 16 innings Saturday in a doubleheader sweep.

"It was a tough day, no getting around it,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after his team was outscored 15-1. "We scored one run. They played great. We didn't pitch great. We didn't hit the ball great. That's a good team over there.''

The Cardinals, 23-7 since a season-worst three-game skid in late April, have won 12 of 16 at home.

They last posted five consecutive victories over San Francisco (29-27) from Sept. 5-12, 1993.

The Giants don't appear to be in a good position to prevent that from happening, as they've dropped five of six and are on the verge of their first 0-8 stretch away from home since May 12-20, 2000.

San Francisco has scored seven runs in its last six road games.

If those struggles continue, that won't leave much room for error for Chad Gaudin (0-1, 2.05) in his first start of the season. The Giants will turn to the veteran right-hander with Ryan Vogelsong out with a fractured right hand. Rookie Mike Kickham took Vogelsong's spot in Tuesday's 6-3 loss at Oakland, but he was sent down the following day.

Gaudin threw three innings of one-run relief in that contest.

"He has experience as a starter, and it's nice to have a guy as versatile as Chad," Bochy told the Giants' official website.

This will be Gaudin's second start against St. Louis, with the last one coming in 2005 while with Toronto. He tossed three shutout innings in a 14-3 home loss to the Cardinals on April 7.

Gaudin should be throwing to Buster Posey after the reigning NL MVP was replaced by Guillermo Quiroz in Saturday's nightcap, a 7-1 defeat.

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina hit safely in his sixth straight in that contest after Tony Cruz got the start in the first game, finishing with two doubles and two RBIs.

St. Louis' David Freese extended his hitting streak to 11 on Saturday night. He's batting .368 (14 for 38) during that stretch.

Giants center fielder Angel Pagan (strained left hamstring) could return for the first time in eight games, while Brett Pill is expected to spell Brandon Belt at first base.

St. Louis has outscored the Giants 35-7 since a 1-0 loss April 5.

Tagged: Cardinals, Giants, Chad Gaudin

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