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Preview: Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants

Game time: 2:20pm EDT




Chicago Cubs hats & merchandise While the Season 2012 has become meaningless to the Chicago Cubs (50-80), they can spoil chances of teams in contention.

That is how they will welcome the San Francisco Giants (74-57) to open a three-game series at Wrigley Field Friday matinee.

The Giants lead the National League West and have a 4.5-game gap over the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers with whom they are in a two-way race to contend in their division.

The Cubs won a wild one Thursday beating the Milwaukee Brewers 12-11 to avoid the sweep. They improve their current 10-game homestand to 3-4 and are 32-32 at home his season.

They needed two big rallies for victory and they did it. In the sixth, eleven Cubs batted and scored six runs to erase a six-run deficit to tie the game at 9-9. Rookie Brett Jackson scored a run and had two doubles with the latter one driving in two runs in the same inning. They trailed again by two runs in the ninth. But with one out in the ninth, Anthony Rizzo delivered a game-tying RBI-double and veteran Alfonso Soriano followed by hitting a game-winning walk-off single which drove in Starlin Castro from third for the victory.

The Cubs are 10-11 against teams from the National League West.

Staring for the Cubs Friday, Chris Volstad (1-9, 6.28) is in quest to win his second of the season.

His personal 24-game winless streak was finally snapped last Sunday when he pitched a gem to give himself and the Cubs a “W” against the Colorado Rockies. Volstad held them scoreless through 6 2/3 innings and scattered only three hits while striking out three and walking three.

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The right-hander made four career starts against the Giants when he was with then-Florida Marlins with a record of 1-2 and a 2.67 ERA. He had a five-hit complete game shutout against today’s opponents on July 8, 2010 in San Francisco.

Madison Bumgarner (14-8, 2.93) will start for the Giants Friday afternoon. The left-hander leads his team in wins and has really been pitching well until his last start.

He had a streak of eight quality starts going until it was snapped on August 25 against the Atlanta Braves at AT&T Park where he was tagged with four runs on seven hits through 6 1/3 innings while walking four and striking out five.

The southpaw won against the Cubs when both teams met on June 1. He pitched eight shutout innings while striking out 11. In the ninth, he exited from the game after giving consecutive singles to Stalin Castro and Joe Mather who scored on Alfonso Soriano’s home run. Those two runs were charged to him in the Giants’ 4-3 victory.

He holds a miniscule ERA of 2.08 against the Cubs in five career starts (3-1).

The Giants boarded a late flight bound for Chicago after a come-from-behind victory to beat the Astros 8-4 to complete the sweep in Houston Thursday night.

They were down by four runs after the first three innings. But the mighty Giants closed the gap by scoring three in the fifth inning and in the seventh, Hunter Pence ripped a game-winning single which tallied Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey. Joaquin Arias added an insurance run by hitting his fourth home run of the season in the eight. Sergio Romo pitched to one batter in the ninth for his eighth save of the year.

Buster Posey leads the team in home runs (19) and in RBIs (80) but his last home run came on August 11 against the Rockies at AT&T Park. Since then, he went homer-less in his last 15 games. The All-Star catcher learned to play first base this year, a position which he shared with rookie Brandon Belt.



By: Patrick Au Yeung Chicago Cubs Correspondent
Twitter - @Cubs_sportsdesk