Cain (12-4, 2.44 ERA) and Santana (13-8, 3.00) rank among the NL leaders in wins, while the Giants right-hander is third in ERA behind teammate Tim Lincecum(notes) (2.19) and St. Louis’ Chris Carpenter(notes) (2.27).
He is also tied with Lincecum with a league-high four complete games, and one victory shy of matching his career high set in 2006. Cain had gone 15-30 with a 3.71 ERA the past two seasons before developing into an All-Star this year.
Cain, though, has lost his last two starts while allowing nine runs and 15 hits in 15 innings.
Despite those two sub-par outings, his emergence this season has been a big part of the Giants’ success.
San Francisco (62-53) is second in the wild-card race, 1 1/2 games behind Colorado while the Mets (54-61) are 9 1/2 behind the Rockies and seemingly out of contention.
The Giants failed to close that gap Friday, getting four hits and losing 3-0 in the opener of this four-game series. It was also their 14th loss in 18 games at New York, where they’ve hit .215 in that span.
“We just didn’t do anything offensively,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Cain is 3-3 with a 4.38 ERA in six starts against the Mets, but threw a three-hitter in a 2-0 victory May 17 in his most recent outing.
Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star, has certainly settled into Citi Field, going 8-2 with a 2.07 ERA in 12 starts, including a 3-0 mark and 1.86 ERA in his last four.
The left-hander was terrific Sunday, yielding one run and five hits in eight innings while helping himself with a career-high two hits and an RBI to power a 5-1 win at San Diego.
“Johan is a tremendous competitor and every time when he gets the ball, he gets everybody involved,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “They respond to him. … He comes to perform.”
Santana is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 12 innings of his last two starts against San Francisco.
The Giants will try to solve Santana and improve their 23-33 road record. They’re hitting .248 on the road compared to .271 at home, losing 11 of 16 away from AT&T Park.