Los Angeles (31-39) at San Francisco (35-35)

Partly Cloudy Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 68° F
  • Game info: 10:15 pm EDT Tue Jun 20, 2006
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The San Francisco GiantsMatt Morris has quite a performance to follow up on as he tries to win his sixth straight interleague decision in a matchup with the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

One night after teammate Matt Cain took a no-hitter into the eighth inning, Morris makes his first career start against the Angels when the teams continue their three-game set at AT&T Park.

Morris (4-7, 4.81 ERA) is 5-0 with a 3.00 ERA in six interleague starts since June 15, 2004, and 12-5 with a 3.91 ERA in 22 career interleague games.

The nine-year veteran is coming off his best start of the year, allowing two runs and seven hits in his first complete game of the season, an 8-2 win over Arizona on Thursday.

“Anytime you get some runs early, it’s going to make it a little easier,” said Morris, who had allowed only 13 earned runs in his previous four starts and pitched at least six innings each time, but went 0-3 during that span. “You’ve still got a long way to go, but it takes a lot of pressure off the pitcher.”

The right-hander has not won consecutive starts since his first two games of the season April 5 and 13, and has not won at home since that second victory. He is 1-4 with a 5.01 ERA in six starts at AT&T Park this year.

Cain, though, thrived in the familiar surroundings Monday, holding Los Angeles hitless for 7 2-3 innings and finishing with a career-high 10 strikeouts in eight innings for a 2-1 win. Cain lost the no-hit bid when Chone Figgins singled to center on a 3-2 pitch.

“You always feel bad,” shortstop Omar Vizquel said. “Any time you go into the ninth or eighth and they break up a no-hitter, it’s stopping your heart.”

Figgins also scored an unearned run in the first inning after a throwing error on a stolen base for the Angels (31-39), losers of two straight and three of four.

“It’s nice not to get no-hit, but it’s still a loss,” Figgins said.

The Giants (35-35) snapped a three-game slide, but the victory was just their third in 10 games. Despite their recent struggles, though, they are only 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres in the NL West, despite being in fifth place.

Barry Bonds, who hit an RBI double Monday, has never faced Tuesday’s starter John Lackey in the regular season, but went 1-for-2 with four walks against him in the 2002 World Series.

Lackey (4-4, 3.46) will make his first start against San Francisco since going 1-0 with a 4.38 ERA in three games against them in the World Series. The right-hander started Game 7 and gave up one run in five innings to earn the win in the Angels’ 4-1 victory.

Lackey is only 1-2 in his last seven starts despite posting a 3.35 ERA over that span, and again failed to get a decision in his latest outing despite a superb performance. He allowed one unearned run and four hits with a season-high tying eight strikeouts and one walk in seven innings of a 3-2, 10-inning win over Kansas City on Thursday.

“We won the game,” Lackey said. “Do I think I’ve pitched better than being 4-4 this year? Yes. But we won the game, and that’s all that really matters.”

The five-year veteran is 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA in six road starts this season, and 5-2 with a 2.87 ERA in 13 career interleague games.

Los Angeles has won only four of its last 11, and the struggles of Vladimir Guerrero are a big reason. The slugging right fielder has just six hits in his last 45 at-bats (.133) and none in his last 14.

Guerrero, though, is 8-for-20 (.400) with three home runs and five RBIs against Morris.

The Angels are 1-6 in interleague play this season after going 12-6 against the NL in 2005.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Lackey StL vs. M. Morris Pit
13-11 Record 10-15
3.56 ERA 4.98
190 K 117
72 BB 63
1.26 WHIP 1.35