Giants-Marlins Preview

The Associated Press

In the midst of their record-setting month of May, concerns at closer continue to plague the Miami Marlins.

Despite another rough outing, Heath Bell is expected to remain the closer as the Marlins look to extend their record win total this month Saturday against the San Francisco Giants.

After converting four straight saves chances, Bell entered Friday's contest with a three-run lead but was pulled after he allowed two runs and three hits in one-third of an inning. Steve Cishek got the final two outs for a 7-6 win, as Miami (25-21) set a record with its 17th win in 24 games in May.

Though Bell is 2-3 with an 8.10 ERA and blown four of his 11 saves chances, manager Ozzie Guillen is sticking with the veteran.

"He gets paid to close games, I get paid to win games," Guillen said. "It's a very hard, uncomfortable move. I needed a different look. But he's going to be back there as my closer (Saturday).''

After dropping two in a row, including Thursday's opener to San Francisco, Chris Coghlan hit a three-run shot and Giancarlo Stanton hit his second long homer this week as the Marlins rallied from a pair of two-run deficits.

Stanton, who hit the left field scoreboard during Monday's 7-4 win over Colorado, become the first player to hit the Marlins' animated home run sculpture. Estimated at 409 feet, the homer is Stanton's 10th this month. All but one of his home runs have come in May, along with 25 RBIs in 24 games.

He's 10 for 22 with four home runs and seven RBIs in five games versus San Francisco this month.

"It's incredible, his ability to hit the ball,'' Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera said. "He has amazing power.''

Like Friday's performance, not all of Miami's victories this month have been easy. Scheduled Miami starter Mark Buehrle (4-4, 3.36 ERA) knows that firsthand.

The left-hander has grinded his way to a 3-0 record and 3.38 ERA in four May starts. He allowed four runs for the second straight start, this time over 7 2-3 innings of a 7-4 win over Colorado on Monday.

"When you talk about bulldog, when you talk about gamer, there's a lot of fake out there,'' Guillen said. "There's a lot of fake bulldogs. This kid's for real.''

Buehrle is 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA against the Giants, but he has not faced them since 2008.

Cabrera, batting .630 (17 for 27) with two home runs against Buehrle, homered Friday as the Giants (24-22) lost for the second time in eight games at Miami. San Francisco won 14-7 in Thursday opener and jumped out to an early 2-0, but Miami jumped ahead for good after a five-run sixth.

Cabrera has batted .487 with seven RBIs in his last nine games.

The Giants hand the ball to Madison Bumgarner (5-3, 2.85), who is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in his last three starts. The left-hander, however, gave up three runs - one earned - and struck out a season-high 10 in 7 2-3 innings of a 4-3, 14-inning victory Monday.

"His cutter was really on," Milwaukee star Ryan Braun told the Giants' official website. "It's his best pitch, and when he's throwing it well, he's definitely pretty tough to get runs against."

Bumgarner has allowed three runs in six innings in each of his two starts against the Marlins, going 0-1.

What to Read Next