The San Francisco Giants will try to solve their road woes on Friday as they open a three-game set against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
San Francisco entered the day only 1 1/2 games back of NL West-leading Arizona. However, the Giants are just 9-15 on the road this season, compared to 20-10 at home. Beginning Friday, they'll play 12 of their next 14 in unfriendly confines.
The Giants avoided suffering a fourth straight loss at the hands of Bay-rival Oakland on Thursday thanks to Pablo Sandoval's go-ahead, two-run single that sparked a four-run sixth inning.
"If this game got away from us, it would have been a long flight to St. Louis, believe me," manager Bruce Bochy said of his Giants, who have dropped 10 of 16 overall. "I thought (Thursday) was really critical."
St. Louis leads the NL Central division and owns the best record in the majors, at 35-18. After winning this week's home-and-home interleague series with Kansas City, the Cardinals have not lost a series in their last nine tries.
"It's a good run, but I think that we're kind of just focused on the next game. We're playing well, we put some wins together and I think we kind of have a short memory," first baseman Allen Craig said. "We're just focused on the next game and not thinking too far back in the past, thinking about all the wins or losses or anything like that. You know, one day as a time, as cliche as it sounds, that's kind of how we're rolling."
Despite their overall success in the month of May (20-7), the Cards hold only a two-game lead over Pittsburgh and a three-game cushion over Cincinnati in the division standings.
They will turn to Shelby Miller to start Friday's series opener. The rookie right-hander boasts an impressive 2.02 ERA through 10 starts, although he has failed to make it through six innings in each of his last three outings. Miller gave up three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of work at Dodger Stadium his last time out.
Meanwhile, the Giants hope to get Matt Cain into a groove. After a rough first month of the season (6.49 ERA in six April starts), the right-hander has settled down and reeled off a four-game winning streak with a 3.48 ERA over his last five starts. However, Cain walked a season-high five batters against the Rockies on Saturday. In a start against the Cardinals earlier this season, he gave up nine runs on seven hits and exited after just 3 2/3 innings.
St. Louis took two out of three from the Giants back in the first week of April.