Athletics-Giants Preview

Strong pitching has keyed San Francisco’s successful stretch at

home against the Oakland Athletics, and the Giants have a good

chance at getting another strong outing as Matt Cain gets set to

take the mound.

Cain, coming off yet another gem, looks to win his fourth

straight start as the Giants attempt to sweep a three-game series

with the Athletics on Sunday.

A 5-4 win over the Athletics (32-32) on Saturday gave the Giants

(34-27) consecutive victories in the Bay Bridge Series after being

swept at Oakland last month. San Francisco has won five straight at

home against Oakland after losing the previous seven.

Pitching has led the way, with the Giants posting a 1.80 ERA

during the longest home winning streak versus the A’s in club

history.

Now San Francisco will give the ball to Cain (5-4, 2.11 ERA),

who has worked at least eight innings while surrendering no more

than one run in each of his last four starts, winning the last

three.

“He’s been on a nice roll here,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s

in a nice zone right now.”

The right-hander is coming off his third complete game of the

season, giving up seven hits in a 3-0 win over Cincinnati on

Tuesday night.

He’s done an outstanding job of avoiding big mistakes,

surrendering four homers in 85 1-3 innings this season. He allowed

a career-high 22 home runs in 217 2-3 innings in 2009.

Cain is 2-5 in seven starts versus the A’s despite a 2.44 ERA,

getting two runs or fewer to work with in four of his last five

outings against them.

Oakland will counter with Vin Mazzaro (2-0, 4.91), who is making

his second consecutive start in place of injured left-hander Brett

Anderson (elbow). The right-hander allowed one run in five innings

of a 10-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.

It was the 17th straight start that Mazzaro failed to last more

than six innings, extending his club record.

Mazzaro has posted a 5.25 ERA in losing each of his two starts

versus the Giants. He’s making his first road start of the

season.

Oakland could use a boost away from the Coliseum, having lost

five of seven after winning its previous four. The A’s fell short

in their latest effort despite getting speedy center fielder Rajai

Davis back.

Davis, who is second in the majors in stolen bases with 23,

missed four games due to tightness in his left hamstring.

“When it first came up we thought it would only be a few days,

and it was just that,” manager Bob Geren told the A’s official

website. “We’re glad to have him back.”

Davis went 1 for 5 in his return, extending his hitting streak

to six games.

A’s third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has hit safely in a

career-best 13 straight contests, batting .451 (23 for 51) with

three homers and 10 RBIs. Kouzmanoff is 12 for 23 (.522) with two

homers and six RBIs in his last five games at San Francisco.