The San Francisco Giants already own the best record in baseball, and one of the major's best pitching staffs.
Now, they're getting Matt Cain back.
Cain returns from his second stint on the disabled list Friday night, when the Giants attempt to avoid their longest home losing streak to the New York Mets.
San Francisco (39-21) is on the verge of becoming the first team to reach 40 wins, and much of that success can be traced to a 3.05 ERA that ranks third in baseball.
The rotation has been particularly impressive with a 2.46 ERA over the last 15 games, a stretch that started with Cain (1-3, 3.66 ERA) suffering a strained right hamstring in a 5-1 win at Colorado on May 21. He tossed three no-hit innings before exiting.
Cain, a three-time All-Star, was on the DL last month with a lacerated right index finger.
He seemed ready to return from his latest injury last Friday, but manager Bruce Bochy opted to play it safe and instead put him on the DL on May 31 retroactive to May 22.
Cain will now face the Mets at home for the first time since getting a career-low two outs while allowing three runs in a 7-2 defeat at home July 10.
That defeat was also the Giants' fifth straight to the Mets at AT&T Park. They've never endured a longer slide at home to New York, and their chances of that happening seem unlikely since they're 19-9 there this season while winning six of their last seven.
San Francisco opens this 10-game homestand after capping a 5-2 trip with Thursday's 6-1 defeat of Cincinnati.
"We're pretty consistent," shortstop Brandon Crawford told the team's official website. "It doesn't matter where we're playing right now."
Crawford had a three-run homer Thursday after going 4 for 31 over the previous 10 games. He's 9 for 21 in his past five versus New York (28-32).
The Mets are looking to show some improvement at the plate after going 4 for 30 with runners in scoring position while being swept in a three-game series by the Chicago Cubs. They were 2 for 13 in Thursday's 7-4 loss in the series finale.
Turning to Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.69) could at least help on the mound. The left-hander is 1-0 with a 3.05 ERA over his last three games - all New York wins - and his latest may have been his most efficient performance of the season.
Niese yielded two runs and scattered eight hits while throwing only 91 pitches in eight innings of a 4-3 win in 11 at Philadelphia on Sunday.
"It's one of those things where you've got to get up and you've got to keep grinding it out," Niese told the team's official website. "You've just got to stay mentally tough, (which) is the biggest thing."
Niese may heed his own words against the Giants since he owns a 2.33 ERA in four starts, but is just 1-2 since he's been backed by five total runs.
He didn't need much help in his last visit to San Francisco on Aug. 1, 2012, allowing one run and three hits in seven innings of a 2-1 victory.
"He's just a great pitcher," Giants right fielder Hunter Pence said. "He has a good fastball, a good curve, a good changeup. He just has good stuff."
Pence is 3 for 26 with seven strikeouts against Niese.
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