video thumbnail

HOU@SF: Cain retires Castro to finish up perfect game

Yes, Matt Cain threw a perfect game against the Astros on June 13 at AT&T Park, and he will face them again in San Francisco on Sunday.

Those facts don't mean much to the Astros, who know how lousy they looked against Cain a little over a month ago. Shortstop Jed Lowrie, who left Saturday's game with injuries to his right knee and ankle, said they can't change their game plan for Sunday based on one tough evening.

"We can't be so excited to get him that it works against us that way," Lowrie said. "We have to keep level heads."

Lowrie still couldn't help but reflect on what Cain did so well during his perfect game, the 22nd in Major League history.

"He didn't make any mistakes," Lowrie said. "He threw big pitches in big spots. Then the support he had behind him, most notably [right fielder Gregor] Blanco's catch. He deserved it. He earned it. I don't think it's an indictment on this team. It should be looked at as something that was earned by him."

Perhaps more concerning than facing Cain, the Astros have scored just 13 runs in their last six games, good for 2.2 runs per game. They've also lost 12 straight road games.

Cain also downplayed the significance of facing the team on the other side of his perfect game. He's treating this start as any other.

"I'm just worried about getting those guys out," Cain said. "I can't be thinking about what happened in the past."

Since the perfect game, Cain has been decent, but not dominant. In 25 1/3 innings, Cain is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA. After striking out 14 Astros on June 13, Cain had 22 strikeouts in his next four starts.

He hasn't made a start since July 5, though he did throw 29 pitches in two scoreless innings during the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

Astros: Norris looking to find early-season form
• Right-hander Bud Norris, from Greenbrae, Calif., takes the mound for the Astros on Sunday in San Francisco. In his last start, he went seven innings, giving up the only two runs in the Astros' loss to the Pirates at PNC Park.

He earned the loss in his last five starts and hasn't pitched in an Astros victory since May 21. In four starts from May 5 to May 21, Norris posted a 0.35 ERA in 26 innings.

Against the Giants on June 12, Norris only lasted 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits and three walks. He left the game in the fourth after spraining his knee in the early innings.

In two starts near his hometown, Norris has never earned a win against the Giants. He made his first career pinch-hitting appearance in the 12th inning of Saturday's game, grounding out to second base.

• With Saturday's loss in 12 innings, the Astros are 0-9 in extra innings in 2012. They are the only team in the Majors without an extra-inning victory.

Giants: Posey likely to return behind the plate
• Buster Posey played first base for the Giants on Saturday but should catch Cain. Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to give Posey a break before Sunday's day game and get Hector Sanchez a start quickly after the All-Star break.

Posey will also catch Barry Zito in Tuesday's series opener against the Braves in Atlanta.

Sanchez went 4-for-6 with two RBIs on Saturday, one of them coming on the game-winning hit in the 12th inning. Posey went 1-for-2 and has played 14 games at first base in 2012, making two errors.

• The Giants' game against the Dodgers on Saturday, July 28, at AT&T Park has been moved from 6:05 p.m. PT to 1:05. The game will also be shown on FOX instead of CSN Bay Area.

• Outfielder Angel Pagan is batting .216 (22-for-102) in his last 28 games. He is hitting .180 (11-for-61) against right-handed pitchers in the last 22 games.

Worth noting
• The Astros' last road win came in the final game of their first series with the Giants at AT&T Park on June 14.

• The Giants are 19-11 against the NL Central in 2012, 15-6 at home. Comments