Cards Tough at Home

The San Francisco Giants have an impressive young starter in Matt Cain, but they haven't done much to help him out.

Cain will be facing St. Louis for the second straight start on Friday as the Giants open a three-game series with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made St. Louis -142 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 83% of bets for this game have been placed on St. Louis -142 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

Cain (0-1, 3.24 ERA) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and gave up two runs in 6 2-3 innings on Saturday at home against the Cardinals (11-5), but the Giants wasted his outing with a 10-inning, 8-7 loss.

"It's tough for all of us," said Cain, who was making his first career appearance against St. Louis. "It's a loss all of us should never let happen. In the pitchers' minds, we should be able to pull that off."

Cain also hit his third career homer - the first by a Giants pitcher since Noah Lowry connected last Aug. 24 against Milwaukee - on the first pitch of the sixth inning from Todd Wellemeyer (1-0, 4.00 ERA), who will face him again in this game.

"That kid did everything. He pitched great and hit a home run," manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's one we can't let slip away for him, and we did. The kid's handled everything well. He's not going to say anything. He had to deal with it last year. We had the game in hand and let it get away."

However, Cain, who has no-hit opponents through six innings four times, is used to seeing his hard work go for naught. He was 7-16 last season despite a 3.65 ERA, and the bullpen blew five of his leads.

Cain won 13 games in 2006, his first full season in the majors.

Wellemeyer shut out the Giants through the first five innings, but gave up five earned runs in his sixth and final frame.

"Overall he was outstanding," manager Tony La Russa told the Cardinals' official team Web site. "That's part of it, just to keep concentrating no matter what. But that's really disturbing, to have the pitcher break a scoreless tie with a home run."

Wellemeyer threw five innings in his only previous start against San Francisco, a 7-0 home win on July 8 last season.

The Cardinals and Giants split their four-game series in San Francisco last weekend, with each team scoring 21 runs.

San Francisco comes into this set on the heels of a 5-5 homestand, capped by Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Brandon Webb and Arizona. Struggling Barry Zito yielded four runs in six innings and has lost his first four starts for the first time in his career.

The Giants managed only three runs in losing the last two games of their three-game series with the Diamondbacks, scoring 19 in their previous three.

"I think our play has picked up," Bochy told the Giants' site. "We had some lapses, but we're getting more consistent with our defense, and the team is developing confidence."

The Cardinals took two of three from Milwaukee at home, but lost the series finale 5-3 in 10 innings on Thursday. Ryan Ludwick went 4-for-5 for his first career four-hit game and homered in his fourth straight start, but St. Louis blew a 3-0 lead going into the eighth.

St. Louis had won seven straight at home after losing 2-1 to Colorado in their season-opener. The surprising Cardinals have not dropped back-to-back games this season. ~KMM~

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