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Preview: Giants Try To Continue Mastery Of Astros

(Sports Network) - Matt Cain will try to get himself and the San Francisco Giants back into the win column when he takes the hill Thursday in the rubber match of a three-game series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.

The Giants had won nine in a row against the Astros before sustaining a 6-3 loss in Wednesday's middle portion of this series. Cain was riding a personal winning streak of his own before taking the hill last Saturday in a 3-0 loss at Toronto, as he allowed all three runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings.

Cain, who was 4-0 with a 0.55 ERA in his previous four starts, fell to 6-5 in 14 outings and raised his earned run average slightly to 2.16. The bulky righty hopes to get himself and the Giants back on track in his second start of the season against Houston. He did not record a decision in a 10-4 win back on April 7, when he gave up four runs -- three earned -- in six innings. He is 1-2 with a 3.64 ERA in five career games (four starts) against the Astros.

San Francisco didn't get the outcome it expected from Barry Zito in last night's 6-3 loss after the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner was reached for five runs on seven hits and two walks through four innings. Aubrey Huff, Andres Torres and Juan Uribe each knocked in a run for the Giants, who had won two in a row and lost for the fourth time in seven tries.

"We were fighting to get back in it," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said on the team's website. "We were just missing a hit."

The Giants are still second in the National League West standings, 2 1/2 games behind the San Diego Padres.

Houston entered last night's game 0-7 against San Francisco this season and mired in a five-game overall slide, but had a big night at the plate to get off the schneid.

Jeff Keppinger ended with two hits and three RBI, while Carlos Lee, Chris Johnson and winning pitcher Brett Myers had two hits and an RBI apiece. Myers was able to even his mark at 5-5 by holding the Giants to three runs -- one earned -- on six hits and three walks in seven innings. He struck out four, including former Phillies teammate Pat Burrell.

"I just try to go out and give us the best chance to win," Myers told Houston's official website. "I'm not trying to break any records. I'm just trying to give the club wins."

It seems that Wandy Rodriguez has been the opposite of that and will take the hill for the Astros Thursday afternoon. Rodriguez has lost three consecutive starts and is 1-6 with a 7.50 ERA in his last seven trips to the hill. In a 9-3 loss versus Texas last Friday, Rodriguez lasted a season-low three innings and surrendered six runs to fall to 3-10 with a 6.09 ERA in 14 starts.

The left-hander lost to San Francisco back on April 6, when he pitched six innings of three-run ball in a 3-0 loss. Rodriguez is winless (0-2) in two career starts against the Giants, who are 7-1 versus the Astros this year and had a six-game winning streak at Minute Maid Park come to an end last night.