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Cardinals-Giants Preview

AP - Sports

The last time Matt Cain faced the St. Louis Cardinals, he helped pitch the San Francisco Giants into the World Series.

This time he'll try to give his team a chance to win their second straight series.

The right-hander hopes for the support he didn't receive during a solid opening day performance when the Giants conclude their home set with the Cardinals on Sunday.

Cain allowed five hits in 5 2-3 innings of San Francisco's 9-0 rout of St. Louis in Game 7 of the NL championship series last fall. He had allowed eight runs in his previous two outings against the Cardinals, including Game 3 of the same series.

After St. Louis (2-3) evened the current set with a 6-3 win Saturday, Cain looks to help the Giants (3-2) get back on track. He yielded four hits and struck out eight in six scoreless innings Monday, but his teammates had no answer for Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw in a 4-0 loss at Dodger Stadium.

"You can't worry too much about the other guy on the mound," Cain said. "You're expected to go out there and throw the ball real well, and that's what you try to do every time out.''

San Francisco's Ryan Vogelsong gave up five runs in 5 1-3 innings Saturday. St. Louis shortstop Pete Kozma had three hits and Carlos Beltran hit a go-ahead two-run single in the fifth and finished with three RBIs as the Cardinals pounded out 11 hits after being held to three in Friday's 1-0 loss.

The Cardinals are in the midst of a challenging opening stretch that began at Arizona and San Francisco and continues at home against reigning NL Central champion Cincinnati and Milwaukee.

"This is a good team, a good lineup," said Beltran, who was 1 for 10 with three strikeouts in the first four games. "We have guys from top to bottom who can do the job. It's fun. As a player, you just want to go out there and be part of it.''

Beltran is batting .364 (8 for 22) with two doubles, a triple and a home run, including the postseason against Cain.

Scheduled St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright has allowed a run over seven innings in each of his last two starts spanning the regular season and playoffs against the Giants. He is 2-2 with a 1.72 ERA in his last five overall versus San Francisco.

The right-hander gave up three earned runs and 11 hits while striking out six without a walk in six innings of a 6-2 opening day loss to the Diamondbacks on Monday.

San Francisco slugger and World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval is 3 for 13 overall against Wainwright, but went 2 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs on Saturday. It was a much-needed performance for Sandoval, who missed 13 spring training games with an irritated nerve in his elbow and is 5 for 18 (.278) with two homers and four RBIs through the first five of 2013.

"You want me to tell you the truth? A little bit lost,'' Sandoval said about his swing due to the injury. "A little bit, yeah. I'm trying to get to the point where I was in spring training. Hanging in there and keep working hard.''

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