Rangers-Giants Preview

NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
The Associated Press

Over the last month, Ryan Vogelsong may be the San Francisco Giants' most effective pitcher.

Now, they are getting one of their more effective bats back.

With Pablo Sandoval off the disabled list and in the lineup, Vogelsong looks to continue his unbeaten run and help the Giants re-establish their dominance of the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

Vogelsong (4-2, 2.38 ERA) has recorded all of his wins over his last six starts, compiling a 1.73 ERA while holding opponents to a .217 average.

He turned in another terrific outing Monday, yielding two runs and scattering eight hits in seven innings of a 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs.

''That was definitely the best all-around stuff I've had,'' Vogelsong said.

Part of Vogelsong's recent success has to do with trying to keep up with three other members of the Giants' rotation. Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Barry Zito all have at least five wins each while two have ERAs under 3.00.

"You don't want to be the weak link," Vogelsong said. "I don't want to be the guy who doesn't come through. It's a tough act to follow those three guys."

That's not quite the case this time, as Zito surrendered four runs and nine hits - two homers - in six innings of a 5-0 loss to the Rangers (34-25) in the opener of this rematch of the 2010 World Series.

That defeat ended the Giants' 13-game home winning streak against Texas, and they've won 15 of the past 18 overall matchups, including four of five in the World Series.

San Francisco (33-26) will be hoping Vogelsong can help continue that success as he faces the Rangers for the first time since a pair of relief outings in 2001, but the club should get a big lift from the return of Sandoval.

The third baseman has been out since May 2 while recovering from surgery to remove a broken hamate bone in his left hand and will be batting third in this game. He has a .316 average with five homers and 15 RBIs in 24 games, and is 5 for 13 with two doubles and three walks in four career meetings with Texas.

"We're a little short-handed and we could use another bat in the lineup," manager Bruce Bochy said. "So we think he's ready and that's why we're making the move."

The Rangers are looking for some consistency after winning just three of their last 10, and Craig Gentry will likely get another chance to provide some support.

The center fielder had a career-high five hits with a double and two RBIs in the opener. That production matched his total in 22 at-bats over his previous 13 games.

Scott Feldman (0-4, 7.01) wouldn't mind more of that as he tries to avoid losing a career-high fifth straight start.

The right-hander has an 8.80 ERA over his last four after replacing the injured Neftali Feliz (elbow) in the rotation.

Feldman's latest performance isn't likely to inspire much confidence, as he turned in the shortest - and perhaps worst - start of his eight-year career in Monday's 12-1 loss at Oakland. He was pulled with two outs in the second and was charged with eight runs.

"It was like a runaway truck with no brakes," Feldman said. "Just couldn't stop the bleeding."

Feldman is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA in three games - one start - versus the Giants, all in San Francisco.