Cubs-Giants Preview

The Associated Press

Other than Melky Cabrera's hitting exploits, the San Francisco Giants haven't displayed a spectacular offense lately.

Fortunately for them, they're facing the Chicago Cubs.

The Giants look to win for the sixth time in seven games and send the Cubs to their longest road losing streak in a dozen years Sunday at AT&T Park.

San Francisco (29-24) has plated four runs or fewer in each of its last six games, but has won five of those to make up 3 1/2 games in the NL West standings and pull within four of the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Giants got little going Saturday against Cubs starter Matt Garza, but Chicago (18-34) had even less success against Matt Cain. San Francisco finished with six hits and one huge walk - to Aubrey Huff in the sixth inning with the bases loaded - in a 2-1 victory to move a season-best five games over .500.

"That at-bat was huge,'' Bruce Bochy said of Huff's base on balls. "We got a run in. That's what it takes to win ballgames.''

Cabrera scored San Francisco's other run on a fielder's choice and also singled for his major league-leading 81st hit. He has hit safely in 15 of 16 games - batting .470 with 18 runs scored in that span - and the Giants have won 11 of those contests.

There's a chance Sunday that Cabrera could be named NL Player of the Month for May after batting .429 with seven doubles, five triples, three home runs, 17 RBIs and 24 runs scored. He'll be getting his first look at Cubs starter Travis Wood (0-1, 5.94 ERA).

The Giants will turn to Barry Zito (4-2, 3.41), who will try to add his name to the list of pitchers to shut down Chicago's abysmal offense.

Saturday's loss marked the 14th in 17 games for the Cubs, and their ninth in a row away from Chicago. They haven't dropped 10 in a row away from Wrigley Field since Sept. 13-30, 2000.

Chicago's offense has been virtually nonexistent in the last seven road losses, totaling 12 runs while batting .106 (5 for 47) with runners in scoring position. The Cubs are making every opposing starting pitcher look like a Cy Young Award candidate, combining for seven total runs against the last eight opposing starters on the road.

"It's the same old thing," manager Dale Sveum said. "It's unbelievable how we have a tough time scoring against starting pitchers.''

In an effort to spark the offense Saturday, Sveum dropped usual leadoff hitter David DeJesus to third in the order. DeJesus homered and new leadoff hitter Tony Campana singled twice and stole two bases, but the rest of the team went 2 for 22.

Zito is set to make his first start against the Cubs since giving up two runs and four hits in seven innings of a 6-3 win at Wrigley last June 28.

The left-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 4-2 win over Arizona on Monday, his third victory in four starts.

Wood surrendered six runs and seven hits - including a career-high four homers - in five innings Monday against San Diego, escaping without a decision as the Cubs won 11-7.

The left-hander should have a better shot of keeping the ball in the yard against a San Francisco team that has a major league-low six home runs at home.

Wood is 0-1 in two career starts against the Giants, both with Cincinnati, in which he allowed nine runs, 18 hits and five walks over 12 innings.

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