Cardinals will try to extend Giants' road struggles

ST. LOUIS -- The San Francisco Giants hope a 5-1 homestand can propel them to success where it has been hard to find so far this season -- on the road.

The Giants, who open a three-game series against the Cardinals in St. Louis on Friday night before heading to Chicago for four games against the Cubs, are tied for the fewest road wins in the National League this season.

There really is no mystery for manager Bruce Bochy on why the Giants are 6-15 away from home.

The No. 1 reason, Bochy said, is the performance of the pitching staff, which has a combined 5.82 ERA on the road compared with a 3.12 mark at home, where San Francisco is 11-10.

"We just want them to do close to what they've done here at home," Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We're not asking them to throw shutouts. Just give us a quality start and a chance to win. Stay away from the big inning, the three-, four-, five-, six-run innings. That's what's killed us."

Matt Moore (2-4, 5.67 ERA) will start the first game of the trip against the Cardinals' Michael Wacha, who will be making his first start since May 7.

Moore has had a lot of trouble on the road this year, going 0-3 with a 10.50 ERA in four starts. He won the only previous start in his career against the Cardinals last season, giving up two runs and seven hits in five innings, but he has never pitched in Busch Stadium.

The Giants hope their starters will get some relief with the addition of closer Mark Melancon, who was activated from the disabled list Wednesday.

Wacha, who is 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA in four career starts against the Giants, had his last turn through the rotation skipped to give him some extra rest. A series of off days, three in a span of eight days, gave the team that luxury.

Wacha (2-1, 3.19 ERA) has had issues in the past with a stress reaction in his shoulder, which has bothered him especially in the second half of seasons. The Cardinals hope the extra rest will provide a benefit later in the year.

"We're going to do everything we can to give Michael every chance to be the kind of pitcher at the end of the season that he is right now," manager Mike Matheny told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "This is one of those opportunities right now. He wants the ball. He feels good. He looks good. It's just a matter of how we keep him there."

Wacha understood the reason for his extended rest, even though he said it was not his idea.

"It's probably only how I'll be feeling for the second half of the season, that type of deal," Wacha told the Post-Dispatch. "I want to be there for September, October and into the playoffs. That's the goal."

The Cardinals could make a roster move before the Friday game to activate third baseman Jhonny Peralta from the disabled list. That could mean a return to the minors for outfielder Magneuris Sierra, despite a seven-game hitting streak to begin his career.