(SportsNetwork.com) - Matt Cain comes off the disabled list to toe the rubber on Friday night as the San Francisco Giants welcome the New York Mets to AT&T Park for the opener of a three-game series.
The three-time All-Star Cain has been out of action since suffering a strained right hamstring against Colorado on May 21, his second DL stint of the season. However, his teammates have certainly picked up the slack, particularly his fellow starters. Going back to Cain's last start, the rotation boasts a 2.46 ERA over the last 15 games.
For New York, Jon Niese takes the hill with a solid 2.69 ERA and 1.12 WHIP on the season, although only a 3-3 record to show for his efforts. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 11 starts.
Most recently, the left-hander limited the Phillies to two earned runs over eight innings. He struck out six and walked only one batter.
After winning four of five in Philadelphia, the Mets turned around and suffered a three-game sweep at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Cubs this week.
Missed opportunities highlighted the series as the Mets lineup went just 4- for-30 with runners in scoring position.
They hit just 2-for-13 during such situations in Thursday's loss, stranding 11 on the basepaths. Cubs starter Kerry Wood not only stifled New York's lineup, he also hit a two-run homer and tacked on another RBI on a fielder's choice. After the Mets rallied with two runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh, Chicago's Anthony Rizzo broke a 4-4 tie with a solo homer in the seventh, and the Cubs added two more runs in the eighth.
"The sky falls in here, but heck, if we keep getting guys on base, we're going to drive some runs in," manager Terry Collins said. "What you end up doing is panicking and not getting anybody on, and then you don't have any chance to score. So we'll plug forward. )We) came in here on a high note but just couldn't get it done here."
Cain's return is an added boost for a Giants team that already owns the best record in the majors. San Francisco wrapped up a 5-2 road trip by taking two of three at Cincinnati this week, including Thursday's 6-1 triumph.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford hit a three-run homer and Michael Morse added a two-run shot in support of starter Madison Bumgarner, who went eight innings and gave up only a solo home run to Todd Frazier.
"We're pretty consistent," Crawford said. "It doesn't matter where we're playing right now."
Friday's game kicks off a 10-game homestand for the Giants, who are a major league-best 19-9 at home this season.
The Mets have won five straight against the Giants at AT&T Park.