Behind P Johnny Cueto, Giants go for sweep of Cubs

MLB

The San Francisco Giants look to bring out the brooms for the fifth time this season when they host the Chicago Cubs on Sunday in the finale of a four-game series.

By winning the first three games of the set, the Giants improved to 9-2 in their past 11 after posting a 4-3 victory over the Cubs on Saturday.

Alex Dickerson has homered in back-to-back games to improve to 4-for-9 with four RBIs and two runs scored in the series.

San Francisco survived some anxious moments in the ninth inning before extending its winning streak.

“Torture baseball, there’s no better way to explain it,” Giants catcher Chadwick Tromp said. “A rollercoaster ride but for us there was never a doubt we were going to get the job done.”

While San Francisco is continuing its stellar surge, Chicago has been stopped in its tracks after winning 14 of 17 games prior to this series.

“Losing is no fun regardless if it’s one or three (straight),” Cubs third baseman Patrick Wisdom said. “This team is good at flushing it, understanding what happened, where we went wrong … and moving on to the next day. Not dwelling on the losses and the negativity.”

The Giants on Sunday will turn to right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-1, 3.45 ERA), who improved to 2-0 in his past four starts after allowing one run on five hits in seven innings of a 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels last Monday.

Cueto has a 3-1 record with a 2.59 ERA at home while holding the opposition to a .225 batting average.

The 35-year-old owns a 9-9 record with a 3.41 ERA in 26 career appearances against Chicago. Anthony Rizzo (4-for-30, eight strikeouts) has struggled mightily versus Cueto, but Jason Heyward (7-for-22, two homers) and Kris Bryant (5-for-10, homer) have enjoyed success against him.

Right-hander Kyle Hendricks (6-4, 4.62) will start for the Cubs. Hendricks, 31, improved to 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA in his past four starts after allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings of a 4-3 victory over San Diego on Tuesday. He has struck out 21 batters against just one walk in 27 2/3 innings during that span.

Hendricks owns a 4-2 record with a 2.13 ERA and .093 WHIP in eight career appearances against San Francisco.

Brandon Belt, who is 7-for-19 in his career versus Hendricks, could be in line to return on Sunday after being sidelined since May 25 with a strained left oblique.

Whether Evan Longoria is in the series finale is uncertain. Longoria injured his shoulder/collarbone area following a collision with Brandon Crawford during the ninth inning of Saturday’s game.

Chicago’s Joc Pederson, who homered in each of the first two games of the series, departed after four innings on Saturday because of lower back tightness. His availability for the series finale is uncertain.

“Seem to loosen it up,” Cubs manager David Ross said of Pederson’s back after the game. “I think it was probably about 70 percent, after the game, said a lot of it let go.”

–Field Level Media

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