Vogelsong goes after fourth consecutive win

(SportsNetwork.com) - Ryan Vogelsong tries to secure a fourth straight winning start on Monday night when the San Francisco Giants play the first of three straight meetings with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Vogelsong can only hope that the month of June goes as well for him as May did. The veteran righty went 4-0 in five starts last month, pitching to a 1.14 earned run average after allowing just four runs and nine walks over 31 2/3 innings.

Vogelsong capped the month with three straight winning starts, including Wednesday's 3-1 victory in Milwaukee. He held the Brewers to a run on six hits over six frames, striking out five and not giving up a walk. That improved Vogelsong to 4-2 with a 4.24 earned run average in 10 games (8 starts) this year.

"He's locked in," said San Francisco's Joe Panik after Vogelsong's recent start. "He set the tone today. He had a runner on third base with less than two outs a couple of times and didn't give in."

The 37-year-old, a former Pirate, is 2-3 in five prior starts against Pittsburgh with a 3.38 ERA.

Panik hit a two-run homer in Sunday's 7-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves, who plated four runs in the ninth inning off the San Francisco bullpen.

Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford added solo shots for the Giants, who dropped the last two of the four-game set after winning five in a row. They sit a half-game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West.

"We had a good month," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "It would have been nice to get this one. That's baseball. You have to deal with this kind of game occasionally, hopefully not too many of them. But we've got to carry the momentum we've had into June."

Pittsburgh also is looking to recapture some momentum as it is coming off just its second loss in 10 games, a 7-1 setback to the San Diego Padres on Sunday. That gave the Pirates a split of the four-game set.

Gregory Polanco's homer accounted for Pittsburgh's only run and Jeff Locke took the loss after giving up seven runs -- six earned -- in four innings.

Pittsburgh's starters came into the game having gone 8-0 with a 2.06 ERA and 73 strikeouts over the club's past 10 games.

The Pirates will hope that young hurler Gerrit Cole can pick up a third straight winning start tonight and improve on his 7-2 mark and 2.11 ERA this season.

Gerrit struck out 10 batters and yielded only one unearned run to beat the New York Mets on May 22, then secured a 5-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. He gave up two runs, both on solo homers, over seven innings, striking out seven without a walk.

The 24-year-old righty, who has not allowed more than three runs in a start this season, is 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA in three previous starts against the Padres.

This is the first meeting between the clubs since the Giants blanked the Pirates 8-0 to win last season's NL Wild Card Game. Pittsburgh won four of the six regular-season meetings.