Runs could be at a premium when the host Giants and sputtering Marlins open a three-game series Tuesday night.
Following a string of subpar pitching performances, San Francisco held San Diego to one run in each of its last two games, including a 4-1 victory Sunday.
Prior to the two straight victories, the Giants (12-10) had given up 23 runs over the previous four games, losing three.
Cain (1-1, 2.37 ERA) will try to extend San Francisco’s success on the mound and equal his results from his first two home outings. He went nine innings in each, yielding a combined three hits and one walk while striking out 15.
He wasn’t as sharp last Tuesday in Cincinnati, giving up three runs on a pair of homers over 6 1-3 innings of a 9-2 loss.
“He’s one of the best in the league,” Reds manager Dusty Baker told MLB’s official website. “If you don’t get to him early, you saw how he was in the middle innings. He got that curveball over and was getting all his pitches. He found his rhythm.”
Cain lost both of his starts versus the Marlins last season, but has a 3.28 ERA over nine career outings against them.
He may not have much room for error against Nolasco, who is 3-0 with a 0.76 ERA in three starts at AT&T Park and 4-2 with a 1.61 ERA in six overall starts versus the Giants.
Nolasco (2-0, 3.20) is coming off a strong performance Thursday against the New York Mets, allowing one run in seven innings of a 3-2 loss.
Buster Posey, though, is 3 for 7 against Nolasco, and will be looking to do some damage in his first game against the Marlins since he had his leg broken in a home plate collision with Florida’s Scott Cousins last May. Cousins is currently in the minors.
Posey, the 2010 NL rookie of the year, missed the rest of the season, but he’s bounced back. He’s batting .353 with four homers while catching 14 games and starting four at first base.
“I’ve been happy with the first month. My ankle has responded great,” said Posey. “I’ve been out there as much or maybe more than I hoped for. It stinks to be sidelined for any amount of time, but especially as long as I was last year. Just having fun each day and enjoying it.”
The slumping Marlins (8-14) don’t have much to be happy about as they open a nine-game road trip. They have lost eight of nine overall after dropping three of four to Arizona, closing the series with a 9-5 loss Monday.
Austin Kearns and Donnie Murphy homered, but the Marlins went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Miami is 5 for 50 in those situations while totaling 18 runs and hitting .182 in its last nine games.
“I’m going to make a very drastic change,” manager Ozzie Guillen said of the lineup. “I don’t know which one yet, but I’m going to make an adjustment. I’m pretty good at that. That’s my job.”
The Marlins swept a three-game series in San Francisco last season, but they’re 2-9 on the road this year.
“We are too good to continue to play the way we’re playing right now,” shortstop Jose Reyes said. “We need to turn it around quickly.”