Diamondbacks-Giants Preview

The Associated Press

Melky Cabrera's hot hitting has been a welcome surprise for the San Francisco Giants, who have won eight of their last 12 games in large part because of his current tear.

Ryan Vogelsong has been impressive as well recently.

Vogelsong takes the mound Tuesday night when Cabrera and host San Francisco look to defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks for a fourth consecutive time.

Cabrera is batting .368 - second in the NL - after going 1 for 3 in Monday's series-opening 4-2 victory, the Giants' third straight win over the Diamondbacks after dropping the previous nine meetings.

Though his RBI streak ended at five games, Cabrera is batting .511 over his last 11 contests and his 74 hits lead the majors in his first season in San Francisco. He's 14 for 31 (.452) with two homers and three doubles against the Diamondbacks this season.

"I knew he was a pretty good all-around player, a switch-hitter who could play anywhere in the outfield," Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the team's official website. "But on offense, he's better than I even thought. That's how good he has played."

Cabrera will aim to support Vogelsong (3-2, 2.50 ERA), who is 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA in four career starts versus the Diamondbacks.

Vogelsong moved to 3-0 with a 1.63 ERA in his last four starts after allowing three runs in 6 1-3 innings of a 14-7 victory over Miami on Thursday. The right-hander has given up more than three runs only once all season and has pitched at least six innings in all eight of his outings.

Vogelsong's record could easily be better with some help from the offense. He had been receiving only 2.45 runs of support per nine innings before the Giants provided eight in his last start.

"Every time he pitches, he really focuses on keeping the other guys really low on scoring runs,'' said San Francisco outfielder Gregor Blanco, who had two doubles Monday and is 10 for 21 (.476) over his last five games. "We have to support him."

Arizona will counter with Joe Saunders (3-3, 3.79), who will look for his first career win against San Francisco (26-23).

The left-hander allowed six runs and a season-high 10 hits in five innings of a 7-3 loss to Giants on May 13, dropping him to 0-4 with a 5.23 ERA in five career starts against the NL West rivals.

Saunders had been 0-2 with a 9.42 ERA in his three previous starts before allowing four runs in 6 1-3 innings to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-4 on Wednesday.

Arizona (22-27) had won three of four prior to Monday's defeat, when it never recovered after falling behind 4-0 in the first two innings. The Diamondbacks went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position, scoring their only runs on an RBI double from Justin Upton in the third inning and a pinch-hit homer from John McDonald in the eighth.

"There were too many mistakes to make up today,'' manager Kirk Gibson said. "It was my fault for not having them ready. We had opportunities. We hit the ball on the button but right at people. If we play better that should not make a difference.''

Upton has a hit in 10 of his last 11 games and is batting .359 in that stretch, but he's only 4 for 26 (.154) in his last 10 games versus the Giants.

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