Giants-Cubs Preview

As they try to maintain their slim edge in the NL West race, the

San Francisco Giants probably aren’t looking forward to facing

resurgent Carlos Zambrano or the Chicago Cubs, who are on a

season-high six-game win streak.

Fortunately for the Giants, they’ll have Matt Cain on the

mound.

While Zambrano will attempt to earn a seventh consecutive

victory, Cain will try to match a season high with a fourth

straight win in Tuesday night’s opener of a three-game road set

with the Cubs.

San Francisco (84-66) enters Tuesday’s play leading San Diego by

one-half game and Colorado by 1 1/2 games in its division. Jose

Guillen hit a first-inning grand slam as the Giants defeated

Milwaukee 9-2 to avoid a three-game home sweep and overtake the

Padres.

“Nothing comes easy from this point on,” Guillen said. “You have

to be smart, go hard and do whatever it takes to win games.”

What it might take to win in Chicago is getting to Zambrano

(9-6, 3.75 ERA), who is 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA in eight starts since

coming back from anger management counseling for a dugout argument

June 25.

“Things happen for a reason,” Zambrano told the team’s website.

“I learned a lesson when the (tantrum) happened, and sometimes God

puts you in situations for you to learn things. I just want to keep

going and do something to help this team.”

The right-hander returned to the rotation Aug. 9 in a 4-3 loss

in 11 innings at San Francisco, allowing two runs, four hits and a

career high-tying seven walks over five innings.

Zambrano has shown better control while winning five consecutive

starts, one shy of matching his career high from July 2-30, 2006.

He walked three batters in Wednesday’s 7-3 victory in St. Louis

while giving up two runs and four hits over six innings.

Zambrano is 5-1 with a 2.92 ERA in nine career starts against

the Giants but might have to outduel Cain, who is 5-2 with a 2.61

ERA in his nine matchups with the Cubs. He did not get a decision

in an 8-7 win Aug. 12 against Chicago despite tying a season high

with nine strikeouts.

Cain (12-10, 3.08) enters this game after one of his best

outings of the season, a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday

in which he gave up three hits over seven scoreless innings. He

previously earned four straight victories from May 28-June 13.

“It’s always fun when you get in a game that’s moving along and

it’s a battle,” Cain told the team’s website.

While the Cubs will battle Cain, some of their thoughts will

likely be with Tyler Colvin. The outfielder had a tube inserted to

prevent a collapsed lung after a piece of Welington Castillo’s

shattered bat punctured his chest during Sunday’s 13-3 victory at

Florida.

Colvin, who Wednesday became the franchise’s fourth rookie to

hit 20 homers, was attempting to score from third on Castillo’s

second-inning double when he was hit near his left shoulder. He’s

expected to remain in the hospital for a few days for

observation.

The Cubs (68-81) also announced catcher Geovany Soto will

undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. Without Colvin and Soto,

they’ll try to match their longest win streak since Aug. 23-29,

2008.

The Giants, who play their final nine games against division

foes, won three of four at home over the Cubs from Aug. 9-12, but

have dropped five of seven at Wrigley.