San Francisco (50-70) at Atlanta (55-66)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 7:35 pm EDT Fri Aug 15, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Earlier this season, the San Francisco Giants were at their best on the road, while the Atlanta Braves were one of the toughest teams to beat on their home field. This is far from the case now.

The Giants look to avoid dropping six straight road games for the first time this season, and the Braves try to bounce back from a humiliating sweep at home as they open a four-game series at Turner Field on Friday.

Through the end of June, San Francisco (50-70) was tied with Tampa Bay for the sixth-best road record in the majors at 22-22, but has baseball’s second-worst road record since then at 4-12.

The Giants are coming off a 7-4 loss at Houston, and have been outscored 32-12 during their five-game road losing streak. They have not dropped six straight road games since a seven-game slide June 15-July 3, 2007, and they have only four wins in their last 15 in Atlanta.

The Braves (55-66), meanwhile, had the majors’ third-best home record at 25-8 on June 5, but have since gone a major league-worst 8-20 at home.

Atlanta, which has lost 10 of its last 12 at home, fell to the Chicago Cubs 11-7 on Thursday, and was outscored 29-9 in the three-game series.

Mark Kotsay provided the lone bright spot for the Braves Thursday, as he became the second Atlanta player to hit for the cycle. Kotsay finished 5-for-5 to join Albert Hall, who accomplished the feat on Sept. 23, 1987.

“It’s a selfish accomplishment,” said Kotsay, who is 2-for-11 in three games against San Francisco this season. “Yeah, it feels good to accomplish something but you can tell by the atmosphere in the clubhouse, it’s pretty numb in here.”

The Giants took two of three over the Braves at AT&T Park Aug. 4-6.

San Francisco’s Randy Winn was 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI on Thursday, and is batting .406 (28-for-69) with 10 RBIs and 11 runs in his last 17 games, which includes an 8-for-12 series against Atlanta.

San Francisco’s Matt Cain (7-9, 3.67 ERA) and Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens (11-7, 3.18) oppose each other for the second time in 11 days in the series opener.

On Aug. 4 at AT&T Park, Cain allowed one run and five hits in 6 2-3 innings to earn the win in the Giants’ 4-2 victory. Jurrjens gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings as he was saddled with the loss in his only career start against San Francisco.

On Sunday, Cain gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings of a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, but did not factor in the decision. The right-hander was 2-1 with a 0.79 ERA in his previous three starts.

Cain has not won on the road since June 20 at Kansas City, but he has pitched well since then. He is 0-2 with a 2.37 ERA in his last three away from San Francisco, but has been backed by one total run of support in those games.

Cain is 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three career starts versus the Braves, and this will be his first career start at Atlanta.

While Cain has not had much luck on the road, Jurrjens has struggled to win at home lately.

After starting the season 5-0 with a 2.49 ERA in his first eight starts at Turner Field, Jurrjens has posted a 5.31 ERA in losing his last three there.

On Saturday, Jurrjens gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings of an 11-4 win over Arizona, as the right-hander moved into a tie with Tim Hudson for the team lead in victories.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Cain SF vs. J. Jurrjens Col
8-14 Record 13-10
3.76 ERA 3.68
186 K 139
91 BB 70
1.36 WHIP 1.37


Friday, Aug 15