By Sports Network
The Sports Network
Right-hander Matt Cain can equal his best single-season win total tonight when the San Francisco Giants open a three-game series with the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.Cain, the 25th overall pick in the 2002 draft, reached his career watermark of 14 victories in 2009 when he went 14-8 and posted a 2.89 earned run average for the Giants across 217 2/3 innings.He's gotten to 13 wins two other times before this year, initially going 13-12 in his first full season in 2006 and winning 13 times against 11 losses in 2010.The number stopped at 12 last year, when he was 12-11 in 33 starts.Cain got within striking distance of the career mark on Aug. 22 when he spun seven innings of one-run ball in toppling the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-4, for his third straight victory.He's 3-3 in nine lifetime meetings with Houston.The Astros start righty Bud Norris, who won a career-high nine games in 2010 but has been stalled on five wins this season for more than three months.The 27-year-old Californian was 5-1 on the year after an 8-4 win over the Chicago Cubs on May 21 in Houston, but is winless in 14 starts since - going 0-10 in a stretch where the Astros are 1-13.The 10th consecutive loss came Aug. 22 at St. Louis, when he allowed three runs in six innings of a 4-2 defeat.Norris last faced San Francisco on July 15 and dropped a 3-2 verdict after giving up three runs on five hits in six innings.Lifetime against the Giants, he's 0-2 in three starts with a 4.41 ERA.On Sunday in San Francisco, Tim Hudson tossed seven solid innings and Brian McCann had three hits with an RBI and run scored as the Atlanta Braves downed the Giants, 7-1, in the finale of a four-game set.Tim Lincecum (7-14) was unable to avoid his second three-start home losing streak of the year.He allowed three runs on five hits and two walks over five frames for the Giants, who have lost two straight on the heels of a five-game winning streak."My rhythm was just off in the first inning. I kind of got it back the next four innings but that was it. I was just getting behind batters 2-0 on pretty much everybody." Lincecum said.Hunter Pence had three hits and Buster Posey recorded two hits and a run scored.In New York, Ike Davis hit a pair of homers, including the game-winning blast in the ninth, and the Mets edged the Astros, 2-1, in the finale of a three- game set at Citi Field.The Mets led 1-0 entering the ninth, but Houston was able to tie it up when Marwin Gonzalez doubled to left field to score Jose Altuve.Altuve got on base with a pinch-hit single then stole second before Gonzalez sent one down the left field line. Lucas Duda made a sliding attempt but couldn't hold on, allowing Altuve to score easily.Ben Francisco followed with a single to left but Gonzalez was cut down at the plate after Duda delivered a strike and Kelly Shoppach blocked the plate."I mean I had to (block the plate), I had to do something," Shoppach said. "I had to stop him somehow with the game that tight."Wilton Lopez (5-2) took the loss after giving up Davis' second homer.Lucas Harrell tossed seven innings of one-run ball for the Astros, who have lost nine of their last 10 overall. He gave up just two hits, including Davis' first homer, and struck out seven."I felt like I was working quick and keeping the ball in the zone," Harrel said. "The defense played really well."The Giants won five of the initial six games between the teams in 2012, taking two of three in a series in June and sweeping another three-game set in July. Houston won the series in 2011, four games to three.