(Sports Network) - The reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants
will look to maintain their lead in the National League West on Friday
afternoon when they take on the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Giants opened the four-game series with a 7-6 win over Chicago on
Thursday, as they overcame a 5-0 deficit to notch their fourth straight
victory. It marked the first time since Sept. 7, 2008 against Pittsburgh that
San Francisco came back to win a game after trailing by five or more runs.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval drove in two runs with a fourth-inning double and
is batting .333 with eight RBI in the early going. Leadoff man Angel Pagan,
who is hitting .350, also plated a pair of runs and added a dazzling catch in
deep center field.
"We have to either protect the lead or we have to go get the lead," Pagan
Chicago led 5-0 after three innings but gave up a combined seven runs in the
fourth and fifth. Sloppy defense contributed to the change in momentum.
"You spend hours and hours (on defense) for 45 days of spring training," Cubs
manager Dale Sveum said, "and to have the lapses in the games when it counts,
it costs you games. It costs you pitches, it costs you not being able to go
The Cubs had the tying run on second base twice in the eighth inning, but they
were never able to get that run home.
Heading to the hill for Chicago on Friday will be Carlos Villanueva, who took
a no-decision at Atlanta last Saturday after giving up just one run in 6 2/3
innings, makes his first home start for the Cubs on Friday. The right-hander
struck out six and walked two while allowing six hits against the Braves.
San Francisco will hope for a rebound outing from starter Matt Cain. After
tossing six shutout innings at Dodger Stadium in the season opener, Cain was
tagged for nine runs on seven hits in just 3 2/3 innings of work against St.
Louis this past Sunday.
However, it has been all smooth sailing at the back end of games for the
Giants. Closer Sergio Romo has notched a Major League-best six saves in as
many tries, having retired 18 of 20 batters faced with 10 strikeouts.
"It's a nice little carryover from last season, I'd say, for sure," Romo said.
"The mentality of playing together and trying to play your part. If everyone
does his part and plays his role to his capabilities, we should be in pretty
decent position to win ballgames."
San Francisco has won eight of the last nine head-to-head meetings.
The Sports Network