Colorado (8-13) at San Francisco (11-10)

Fair Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 54° F
  • Game info: 4:05 pm EDT Sat May 2, 2009
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The San Francisco Giants’ rotation boasts the reigning NL Cy Young award winner, but so far this season Matt Cain - not Tim Lincecum - has been the team’s best pitcher.

Cain has delivered a quality start in each of his four outings, a trend he’ll hope to keep up Saturday when the surging Giants continue their three-game set with the visiting Colorado Rockies.

Lincecum became a sensation for San Francisco last year, when he led the major leagues in strikeouts on his way to picking up the NL Cy Young in just his second season. He’s begun to regain his form in his past three starts after a poor beginning.

The Giants (11-10), though, have some quality depth in their rotation, starting with Cain (2-0, 2.08 ERA). The burly right-hander has gone at least six innings in all four starts, and he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of them.

Cain gave up one run and four hits in seven innings Sunday at Arizona, though he did walk four. He was in line for his third victory until the Diamondbacks scored three times in the ninth and won 5-4 in 12 innings.

“Cain did a great job,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official Web site. “I thought we were going to win it for him, but then they stole it.”

Cain has won both of his starts at AT&T Park after picking up only five wins in 18 outings there last season. He’s faced the Rockies (8-13) eight times at home during his career, going 5-2 with a 1.95 ERA as Colorado hit just .180.

Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe, tied for the team lead with 16 RBIs, is 1-for-15 with six strikeouts and 11 walks against Cain.

The Giants have won nine of 12 after a 2-7 start, and their impressive play at home has been the key to the turnaround. San Francisco is 9-3 there, and also made it six of seven at home with a 3-2 win in Friday’s series opener.

Randy Johnson pitched seven shutout innings to earn his 297th career victory after lasting just 3 1-3 innings in his previous start.

“It’s really about how you respond from bad games that you pitch,” Johnson said.

The Rockies have lost 12 of 17 since starting 3-1, and a lack of production in the clutch is the biggest reason why they’re sitting at the bottom of the NL West. Friday’s loss dropped Colorado to 0-6 in one-run games.

Jason Marquis (3-1, 4.10) has pitched well enough in three of his four starts to make sure that the Rockies wouldn’t have to worry about a close game. He’s lasted at least seven innings in all of his wins, and went 7 1-3 Sunday against Los Angeles, allowing three runs and six hits in a 10-4 victory.

“I like (Marquis) out there late,” manager Clint Hurdle told the Rockies’ official Web site. “I like the other starting pitchers watching him work the seventh inning, watching him work in the eighth inning. That’s what we need.”

Colorado also seems to score runs when Marquis is pitching. The 8.2 runs per game the Rockies score with him on the mound are the second-most support any NL starter receives.

Marquis should enjoy facing the Giants, who are 29th in the majors in runs scored. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.85 ERA in six career starts against San Francisco.

Giants outfielder Randy Winn, however, is 7-for-16 (.438) with two homers against Marquis.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Marquis CIN vs. M. Cain SF
15-13 Record 14-8
4.04 ERA 2.89
115 K 171
80 BB 73
1.38 WHIP 1.18

Scoreboard

Saturday, May 2