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The San Francisco Giants continue to put themselves in position to win, even if the result isn't always positive.
Coming off a loss in their fifth straight one-run contest, the Giants look to bounce back in the opener of a three-game road series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Pittsburgh -105 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 50% of bets for this game have been placed on San Francisco -105 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
San Francisco (14-18) lost for the fifth time in eight contests Sunday, 6-5 at Philadelphia. The Giants' last five games have been decided by one run, and they've dropped three of them to fall to 8-8 in such contests this season.
"I think we're getting there," center fielder Aaron Rowand told the Giants' official Web site. "We're a young team that's very, very close to being good. We'll just continue to get better."
The Giants, though, are still a team prone to making mistakes. San Francisco committed three errors Sunday, including a key one in the bottom of ninth when second baseman Eugenio Velez couldn't handle Geoff Jenkins' grounder which allowed Ryan Howard to score the Phillies' winning run from second.
"We've got to put ourselves as a team in position to tighten things up," San Francisco shortstop Emmanuel Burriss said.
Rich Aurilia went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs Sunday, while Rowand was 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Giants.
Rowand is batting .383 with six doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs in his last 16 contests. He is a lifetime .325 hitter with three homers and 10 RBIs in 40 at-bats versus Pittsburgh (12-19).
The Giants turn to Jonathan Sanchez (2-1, 3.48 ERA), who will be looking to win his third straight decision Tuesday. San Francisco is 5-1 this season when Sanchez starts.
The left-hander, in his first full season as a starter, allowed two runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings but didn't factor in the decision of a 3-2 victory over Colorado on Wednesday. Sanchez has a 36.00 ERA in two relief appearances against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh will counter with Zach Duke (0-2, 4.79), who has dropped his last two decisions.
Duke was solid in his last outing, however, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings, but did not receive a decision in Pittsburgh's 3-2 loss at Washington on Thursday. The left-hander is 0-1 with a 6.28 ERA in three starts versus the Giants.
The Pirates will try to avoid a third consecutive loss after falling 5-2 at Washington on Sunday. Pittsburgh dropped three of four in the series with the Nationals to conclude a 2-4 road trip.
"We need to start playing with a lead a little more often and get things going," manager John Russell told the Pirates' official Web site. "The guys have been battling better."
Adam LaRoche went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs on Sunday. It was just the second homer for LaRoche, who is hitting .202 in his second season with Pittsburgh. He does have five hits and three of his eight RBIs in his last two contests.
"He's been swinging better," Russell said of LaRoche, a career .366 hitter against San Francisco. "I see his confidence building."
Pittsburgh went 4-2 in the season series versus San Francisco in 2007, but dropped two of three at home.
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