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.
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.