Marlins-Giants Preview

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy knows his lineup has to

continue to improve, but right now, he can’t complain about how

it’s performing in the clutch.

Looking to match a season high with their sixth straight

victory, the NL West-leading Giants will try to extend their

longest home winning streak in seven seasons to 10 on Tuesday night

when they face the Florida Marlins.

San Francisco (27-19) failed to score more than four runs

through nine innings for the 16th time in 17 games Sunday, but the

defending World Series champions beat Oakland 5-4 in 11 innings to

win their fifth in a row.

“Right now we’re starting to swing the bats better, but until we

get this offense clicking, it’s going to be vital for us to have

the pitchers throwing the ball the way they are,” Bochy told the

team’s official website.

While their starters have strung together 15 straight games

without giving up more than three earned runs, the Giants also have

come through at the plate when it matters most. They improved to

11-0 at home in one-run games Sunday when Emmanuel Burriss singled

home Darren Ford for the deciding run – the team’s seventh walkoff

win.

San Francisco has won 14 of 18 overall, including a nine-game

home winning streak which is its longest since a 9-0 stretch May

25-June 17, 2004.

Giving the ball to Matt Cain (3-2, 3.28 ERA) could help San

Francisco inch closer to its longest undefeated stretch at its

11-year-old waterfront ballpark, an 11-game run July 7-25, 2003.

He’s 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last six starts there – three this

season and three in last year’s playoffs.

The right-hander did not earn a decision Wednesday, but he

struck out a season-high seven and pitched into the eighth inning

for a second consecutive start in an 8-5 victory over the Los

Angeles Dodgers.

Cain has allowed more than three runs just once in nine starts

this year and has never done so in seven outings versus Florida,

going 3-0 with a 2.98 ERA.

The Marlins (26-19) begin a nine-game trip with right-hander

Ricky Nolasco (3-0, 3.32) looking to continue his dominance in San

Francisco. The Southern California native is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA in

two starts at AT&T Park and threw the only shutout of his

career there Aug. 19, 2008.

“I’ve just been able to go there and make pitches,” he told the

Marlins’ official website. “Obviously, they are a good team built

around their pitching. They have been playing good as of late, so

I’m just going out and try to do the same thing and make

pitches.”

If Nolasco struggles, manager Edwin Rodriguez can turn to a

bullpen which is among the league’s best with a 2.64 ERA. Florida’s

relievers threw six shutout innings and struck out a season-best

eight in Sunday’s 4-0 loss to Tampa Bay.

Marlins pitching has held Buster Posey to three hits in 15

at-bats, all during the teams’ last series – a four-game split July

26-29 in San Francisco. The reigning NL rookie of the year, who is

1 for 3 against Nolasco, enters this three-game set on an 11-game

hitting streak during which he’s batting .390.

Florida’s Logan Morrison will try to reach base safely for the

25th straight game after drawing a two-out, ninth-inning walk

Sunday. In his major league debut, Morrison singled off Cain for

his first big-league hit in a 6-4 loss July 27.

Cain lasted seven innings in that game, surrendering three runs

while not earning a decision.

This will be the first game against the Marlins for outfielder

Cody Ross, whom the Giants claimed off waivers from Florida on Aug.

22. Ross played a key role in San Francisco’s playoff run and was

named MVP of the NL championship series.