for this game

Giants hope to add to Marlins' home woes

Aug 12, 2011 - 3:28 PM (Sports Network) - Set to move into a new ballpark in 2012, the Marlins probably can't wait to turn off the lights for the final time at Sun Life Stadium.

The skidding Giants hope to extend Florida's home troubles a little longer, especially considering the bad blood between the teams stemming from a collision at home plate between the Marlins' Scott Cousins and San Francisco catcher Buster Posey that resulted in the National League's reigning Rookie of Year being lost for the season with a broken leg.

The play sparked a debate regarding catcher safety and plays at the plate, and was fueled by Giants general manager Brian Sabean, who called Cousins' play dirty during a radio interview.

A San Francisco native, Cousins received death threats, but he will not be participating this weekend, as he is on the 60-day disabled list with a lower back strain.

"I'm sure it's on their map, obviously since [the Giants] kind of caused a ruckus even after we left. I'm sure they'll be keeping an eye on the games," said Florida catcher John Buck of major league baseball's awareness.

Tonight, the Marlins try to win for the first time on their 10-game homestand in the opener of a three-game series with San Francisco, which is hoping to recapture a share of the lead in the National League West.

Florida has dropped seven in a row since beating the Mets in New York on Aug. 2 and will conclude its homestand this weekend. The Marlins are just 23-37 at home this season compared to 32-25 on the road.

Those struggles at Sun Life Stadium continued on Wednesday when starter Anibal Sanchez lasted just 1 2/3 innings in a 6-2 setback, allowing five runs in his shortest outing of the year.

"Our starting pitching has to get tough," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "We cannot keep battling back, fighting an uphill battle, four or five runs, every two or three innings at the beginning of the ballgame. It's not going to work."

Logan Morrison finally got Florida on the board with a solo homer in the eighth inning after the club placed shortstop Hanley Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list before the game. He did not play at all on the homestand due to a sprained left shoulder suffered on Aug. 2.

The Giants are aiming to avoid a similar fate with Carlos Beltran, who missed all three games versus the Pirates to begin the week due to a sprained right wrist. San Francisco is hoping that Beltran, who is hitting .244 with a pair of RBI in 11 games since being acquired from the Mets, can return tonight.

"I would certainly hope not. We don't think so," manager Bruce Bochy told San Francisco's website of a possible DL stint for Beltran. "We're going to do what we can not to let that happen. But again, Friday when we'll check on him and evaluate him, that will help that decision."

The Giants were also without outfielder Nate Schierholtz on Wednesday after he tweaked a right hip injury the previous day and dropped a 9-2 decision to close out the set with the Pirates.

Jonathan Sanchez lasted just 4 1/3 frames and was charted with five runs, all but one earned.

"It has me a little concerned," Bochy said of the instability at the fifth- starter spot. "We need that guy to help us win a ballgame, too. We haven't had a good start there in I don't know how many times now."

The Giants wrapped a 10-game homestand just 3-7, giving them three straight series losses at home for the first time since dropping six in a row from May 12-June 18, 2008. Their 10th loss in 13 games also has them a game behind the Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West as the club is out of solo possession of the spot for the first time since June 24.

Pablo Sandoval hit a homer for the Giants on Wednesday, the club's 19th straight solo homer. That matches a record set by the Phillies in 1914.

The Giants will look to go deep with runners on base tonight and that would help starter Matt Cain avoid a fourth loss in five starts. The right-hander is coming off a tough-luck loss to the Phillies on Saturday, when he gave up just two runs -- one earned -- on three hits and two walks over eight innings of a 2-1 defeat.

The 26-year-old Cain is 9-8 with a 3.00 earned run average in 24 games this year and had won his first three career decisions versus the Marlins until a home loss to them on May 24. He lasted six innings in defeat, giving up a three-run double to Gaby Sanchez in the third inning and a solo homer to Mike Stanton in the following frame.

Ricky Nolasco defeated Cain on May 24, yielding a run over 8 1/3 innings. He improved to just 3-2 in five career starts versus the Giants despite an excellent 1.72 ERA over that time.

Nolasco was unable to secure a third straight victory on Saturday versus the Cardinals despite a solid outing. The only runs the right-hander gave up over his seven innings came on a two-run homer by Albert Pujols on the first inning, but Nolasco suffered a 2-1 loss.

The 28-year-old has given up 22 hits over his last two outings, but just three runs. He is 8-8 with a 3.86 ERA in 24 games this season.

The Marlins swept that road set with the Giants in late May and have won five of their last seven against them. However, San Francisco came away with a three-game sweep in the lone meeting in Miami a season ago.