SAN FRANCISCO — Two hot pitchers at opposite ends of their career arcs hook up Friday night when the Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants open a three-game interleague series.
Orioles rookie Dylan Bundy and Giants veteran Matt Cain draw the pitching assignments in the first meeting of the American League East and National League West clubs since 2013.
Cain was the starting pitcher the last time the teams dueled, on Aug. 11, 2013. He took the loss in a 10-2 Giants defeat at AT&T Park, allowing three runs in seven innings.
The Orioles won two of three in that series, after the Giants took two of three in their previous meeting, also in San Francisco, in 2010.
The clubs have not met in Baltimore since 2004.
Bundy, the Orioles' first-round pick in 2011, has made only five career starts. The last four have been impressive, as the right-hander has allowed only five runs in 23 2/3 innings over that stretch.
Bundy is 2-0 in August, having surrendered only five hits and two runs in 13 innings.
He lost his only previous interleague start despite allowing only two hits to the Colorado Rockies in 5 2/3 innings. Both hits were home runs, a solo homer by David Dahl and a two-run shot by Nick Hundley, leading to a 3-1 Rockies win.
Bundy has struck out at least seven in each of his last three starts.
“I try to look at: Did I give the team a chance to win? If I did, I'm happy with it,” Bundy said recently of his approach to being a starting pitcher. “If I didn't, I'm not happy with it. That's about as simple as I can keep it. That's your goal as a starter — just going out there every fifth day and giving your team a chance to win.”
Cain, in his last two starts, has demonstrated he can handle the Orioles' regional neighbor, the Washington Nationals.
He threw five no-hit innings against the Nationals in a 3-1 home win on July 31, then allowed five hits in five more shutout innings in a rematch last Saturday, a game the Giants won 7-1.
The 10 consecutive scoreless innings have lowered Cain's ERA from 5.95 to 5.16.
If Cain has struggled in any area of late, it's been in control. He walked a total of seven in the two Washington games.
The first win over the Nationals was the 100th of Cain's Giants career. Ninety-three of those wins came in his first nine years with the team.
“That hit me after the game was over,” the 12th-year Giant said of his milestone shortly after the win. “I didn't think it was going to be that big of a deal, but for it to take three years, it feels good. It definitely feels good.”
The series continues a rugged stretch in the Giants' schedule, which features 19 consecutive games against playoff contenders. The homestand that opens Friday continues next week with three games against Pittsburgh and four against the New York Mets.
The Giants are coming off a 3-3 trip to Washington and Miami.
While the Giants were flying cross-country to start the series, the Orioles didn't travel at all. They didn't even have to change hotels after finishing off a four-game series in Oakland with a 9-6 win on Thursday.