The last time San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds faced the Los Angeles Angels, he was nearly unstoppable. His play wasn’t enough to help the Giants win the 2002 World Series, but he hopes this time around it will be enough to break them out of their recent slump.
Bonds and the Giants (34-35) meet the Angels (31-38) for the first time since that series in a three-game interleague set beginning on Monday at AT&T Park.
Bonds hit .471 (8-for-17) with four home runs and six RBIs in the 2002 World Series, which the Angels won in seven games for the franchise’s first title.
The Giants left fielder could use that kind of production now. Bonds hit his 718th home run on Friday, but is 1-for-7 over the last two games and struck out three times in a game for the first time since June 12, 2003 in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to Seattle.
San Francisco, which is below .500 for the first time since May 15, was swept in three contests by Seattle and outscored 18-6 in the series. The Giants have lost seven of nine games overall and are 2-4 in interleague play this season.
“We’re just not putting things together,” said Giants outfielder Jason Ellison, who hit his second homer of the season in Sunday’s loss. “We just haven’t been able to get anything going.”
Matt Cain (5-5, 5.35 ERA) tries to win his fifth straight decision when he takes the mound for San Francisco. The 21-year-old right-hander is 4-0 with a 3.23 ERA over his last six outings—five of them starts—with a .186 opponent batting average.
Cain allowed four earned runs and five hits over five innings in an 11-4 victory over Arizona on Wednesday, but failed to pitch into the six inning for his third straight start.
“I just got myself in bad situations,” he said. “I’m never going to be happy giving up four runs, but I got those guys in hitters count and they took advantage of it.”
Cain pitched a complete-game one-hitter in his only interleague start, a 6-0 victory over Oakland on May 21.
While Cain looks to continue his winning streak, Kelvim Escobar (5-7, 3.62) tries to avoid a sixth consecutive loss when he takes the ball for Los Angeles.
The right-hander is 0-5 with a 3.79 ERA in his last six starts. He has gotten little run support as the Angels have been held to three runs or fewer in five of those six games.
Escobar pitched seven strong innings on Wednesday, holding Kansas City to three runs and five hits, but didn’t receive a decision in the 4-3 defeat.
“I just have to keep throwing and hopefully my luck is going to come around again,” said Escobar, who walked one and struck out five in the game. “I think I’m throwing well enough to get a ‘W’, but that is baseball. Obviously you want to go out there and be consistent but whatever happens, happens.”
Escobar pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings to earn a save in his only career appearance versus the Giants, a 6-5 victory on June 10, 2002 when he was with Toronto.
Los Angeles has won six of its last eight on the road as it opens a six-game trip, but is just 1-5 in interleague play this season after a 7-3 loss to San Diego on Sunday.
Giants outfielder Moises Alou missed Sunday’s game with back spasms and is expected to be out of the lineup on Monday. Angels center fielder Darin Erstad is day-to-day after leaving Saturday’s game with an aggravated right foot.
This contest opens a nine-game homestand of interleague series for San Francisco, which will host Oakland and Texas after the Angels.