Preview: Cardinals at Giants

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 03 2014 01:40:53 AM EDT
Updated On: Jul 03 2014 01:40:55 AM EDT

The St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants traded shutouts in the first two games of the series, with struggling offenses just as much a factor as the strong pitching. The Giants will attempt to salvage a series win when they host the Cardinals for the rubber match Thursday. St. Louis has not scored more than three runs in any of its last six games but needed only two to overcome San Francisco on Wednesday.The Giants got their lone win in the series Tuesday behind Tim Lincecum, who has presided over the team's only victories in the last nine contests. San Francisco has dropped 16 of 21 overall and is in danger of surrendering its fifth straight home series if it can't come up with a victory Thursday. The Cardinals snapped a three-game slide behind Adam Wainwright in Wednesday's 2-0 triumph and can go home even on its 10-game road trip despite the offensive woes by taking the rubber game.TV: 3:45 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), CSN Bay Area (San Francisco)PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Carlos Martinez (1-3, 4.13 ERA) vs. Giants LH Madison Bumgarner (9-5, 2.90)Martinez was solid in his third straight start at Los Angeles on Friday but struggled with his command and lasted only 4 1/3 innings as he bumped up against a pitch count. The Dominican Republic native allowed one run and six hits against the Dodgers and has yielded a total of four earned runs in 13 1/3 innings as a starter. Martinez faced San Francisco twice in relief earlier this season and surrendered four runs in 3 1/3 total frames.Bumgarner sandwiched one great outing around two subpar efforts in his last three turns. The 24-year-old was reached for five runs on nine hits in six innings to suffer a loss against Cincinnati on Friday, matching a season low with three strikeouts. Bumgarner is 3-3 with a 3.57 ERA in six career starts against St. Louis.WALK-OFFS1. Giants CF Angel Pagan will receive an epidural Thursday to help ease the pain in his ailing back.2. St. Louis 3B Matt Carpenter is 7-for-11 in the last three games.3. San Francisco is expected to get some help on offense when 1B Brandon Belt (thumb) comes off the DL on Friday.PREDICTION: Cardinals 4, Giants 3

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