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Mets-Giants Preview

AP - Sports

Perhaps a visit from the New York Mets can wake up San Francisco's struggling offense and help the Giants end their current skid.

After being shut out in back-to-back contests, the Giants look to avoid a season-high fifth straight loss by continuing their recent success against the Mets on Monday night.

San Francisco (55-46) opened its current 10-game homestand with two wins over San Diego, but has since totaled six runs while losing the next four. After being blanked in the last two of a three-game sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Giants are just one percentage point ahead of their NL West rivals.

"Sometimes you are just going to get it handed to you,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. "The important thing is how we handle it. We're still in a great situation.''

The Giants, who have not been shut out in three straight games since June 23-25, 1992, managed five hits in each of the last two games versus Los Angeles and did not get a runner past second in Sunday's 4-0 defeat.

"We can't afford to think too much about this one,'' losing pitcher Ryan Vogelsong said. "If anything, it makes us a little mad and we can take it out on the Mets.''

That's very possible considering San Francisco has won 11 of 15 against New York (49-53), including six of eight at AT&T Park. The Giants also won't face All-Star knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who earned his NL-leading 14th win in Sunday's 5-1 victory at Arizona.

That was the Mets' third win in their last 17 games. Despite Dickey's effort Sunday, Mets pitchers have posted a 5.64 ERA during that stretch.

San Francisco All-Star Melky Cabrera is batting .353, but is 3 for 15 in the last four games. Cabrera went 3 for 13 with five walks when his team took three of four in New York in April.

The Giants hope to get back on track against Mets rookie Jeremy Hefner (1-4, 5.40 ERA), who makes his second straight start in place of the injured Johan Santana and fifth overall. The right-hander gave up three runs and two homers in a 5-2 loss to Washington on Wednesday.

Hefner allowed three hits in three scoreless innings of relief in his major league debut April 23 against San Francisco.

The Giants counter with Madison Bumgarner (11-6, 3.10), who is 7-1 with a 1.89 ERA in nine home starts this season. The left-hander took the mound in San Francisco's most recent victory, a 3-2 home win over the Padres on Tuesday, when he did not factor in the decision despite giving up two runs and striking out nine in seven innings.

He allowed a run and three hits in seven innings of a 7-2 victory April 23 in his only appearance against the Mets.

Scott Hairston is 0 for 6 against Bumgarner, but had two hits and two RBIs on Sunday. The subject of trade rumors, Hairston is 5 for 10 with four RBIs in his last three games.

"Once I get to the ballpark I just focus on doing my job,'' he said.

After homering three times in New York's 6-3 loss on Saturday, Ike Davis went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts in the finale. He went 1 for 14 with seven strikeouts against the Giants in April.

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