Giants-Mariners Preview

Over the last week, the San Francisco Giants and Seattle

Mariners had two of baseball’s best pitching performances of

2012.

How they’ve followed those historic efforts has been a

concern.

San Francisco hopes to regain focus after following the euphoria

of Matt Cain’s perfect game with a loss, while Seattle looks to

avoid a sixth consecutive defeat since its no-hitter in Friday

night’s series opener at Safeco Field.

Cain pitched the first perfect game in Giants history in

Wednesday’s 10-0 win against Houston, striking out 14 as the

offense scored its most runs since plating 14 against Miami on May

24.

San Francisco, though, seemed lethargic in Thursday’s 6-3 loss

to the Astros, trailing 5-0 through three innings before Brandon

Belt’s two-run homer in the fourth.

“It was hard to get any sleep, and I think it was the same for

everybody,” Belt told the team’s official website. “It might have

played into today, but we’ll get them tomorrow.”

Manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants (36-28), who have lost nine

of their last 11 meetings with the Mariners, need to keep moving

forward no matter the previous day’s result.

“You have to put the really good games, just like the tough

ones, behind you,” Bochy said.

It’s something Seattle has had even more trouble doing.

The Mariners (27-37) had six pitchers combine to hold the Los

Angeles Dodgers hitless in a 1-0 win last Friday, marking the

team’s first no-hitter since Chris Bosio beat Boston on April 22,

1993.

Seattle, though, has dropped five straight since after falling

6-2 to San Diego on Thursday. It has been outscored 28-11 during

its skid.

“We’ve got to get out of this funk here at home,” manager Eric

Wedge told the Mariners’ official website. “We’ve got a lot of home

games here. Obviously we know what we’re capable of doing

offensively, that hasn’t left us. But we’ve got to get over that

hump here at home and break out. I think once we do, we’ll hit the

ground running from there.”

The Mariners’ offensive struggles may not get any better with

the Giants sending Ryan Vogelsong to the hill.

Vogelsong (5-2, 2.26 ERA) had another outstanding performance

Saturday, allowing one run and three hits in 7 2-3 innings of a 5-2

win over Texas. He’s allowed more than two runs only once as the

Giants have won his last seven starts, with Vogelsong going 5-0

with a 1.64 ERA in that stretch.

“He’s got a maniacal focus that you love,” Bochy said.

The right-hander has pitched at least into the seventh inning in

10 of his 11 starts, and his ERA is the fifth-best in baseball.

Vogelsong is 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA in his five starts against the AL

as a member of the Giants, though he hasn’t faced the Mariners

since 2004 with Pittsburgh.

Seattle will counter with Jason Vargas, who has struggled since

posting a 2.79 ERA in his first eight outings.

Vargas (7-5, 3.90) has a 5.40 ERA in his last six, and tied a

season worst by allowing five runs in six innings of an 8-3 loss to

the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday.

The left-hander allowed one run and two hits in seven innings of

Seattle’s 2-1 win in 12 innings May 22, 2009, his only start

against the Giants.

This will mark the fourth consecutive series between the teams

that has taken place at Safeco Field. They haven’t met in San

Francisco since 2000 – AT&T Park’s first year – meaning the

Giants are the lone major league team Ichiro Suzuki has never faced

on the road.