Chicago (18-32) at San Francisco (27-24), 10:15 p.m. EDT
Melky Cabrera is coming off one of the best months for a San Francisco Giants hitter since the franchise made its way from Manhattan to the Bay Area.
He’ll try to continue his hot hitting into June while helping the Giants send the Chicago Cubs to their longest road losing streak in six years Friday night.
Cabrera had 51 hits in May to tie the most by one Giants player in a month since the team relocated to San Francisco. Randy Winn also had 51 hits in September 2005 and Bill Terry set a franchise record with 54 for the New York Giants in August 1932.
Cabrera went 1 for 4 during a 4-1 loss to Arizona on Wednesday to finish May with a .429 average, 15 extra-base hits and 17 RBIs over 29 games.
“It’s been amazing, really amazing, what he has done this month,” manager Bruce Bochy told the team’s website.
Wednesday’s defeat denied San Francisco (27-24) its first series sweep at AT&T Park this season and its first four-game win streak of the campaign. The Giants, though, have won eight of 12 at home.
Madison Bumgarner (5-4, 3.14 ERA) enters his start Friday with an 11-2 record and 2.02 ERA over his last 14 games at AT&T Park. However, he had an eight-game home win streak snapped during his last outing there, a 4-1 loss to St. Louis on May 16.
The left-hander is 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA over his last four starts after tying a career high by winning five in a row. Bumgarner, who had a 1.54 ERA during that win streak, allowed five runs over six innings during a 5-3 loss in Miami on Saturday.
Bumgarner was much better in his most recent matchup with the Cubs, striking out 11 and yielding two singles over eight innings in a 4-0 win Aug. 31. He’s 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA over four career starts against Chicago.
The Cubs head into the opener of a 10-game trip after breaking out of a 12-game skid – their longest in 15 years – earlier this week. Darwin Barney completed his team’s three-game sweep of San Diego in dramatic fashion, hitting a two-run homer in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s 8-6 victory.
Chicago hadn’t earned three straight wins since Sept. 10-12.
“It’s nice to win three in a row. If we can build on it, that’s what we’re trying to do,” Barney told the team’s website. “There’s a lot of season left and who’s to say we can’t turn this thing around?”
The Cubs (18-32) now try to avoid dropping eight straight on the road for the first time since a nine-game skid Aug. 25-Sept. 10, 2006, and they could use a more efficient outing from Paul Maholm (4-3, 4.62).
The left-hander allowed two runs and four hits Saturday during his return to Pittsburgh, where he played his first seven major league seasons. However, he also walked a season-high five batters and used 94 pitches to get through five innings in the 3-2 victory.
Maholm is 0-1 with a 5.71 ERA over his last three games after posting a 1.07 ERA while winning four consecutive starts.
Maholm is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA in eight lifetime matchups with the Giants but earned both of those wins at PNC Park. He’s 0-1 with a 4.30 ERA over four outings in San Francisco.
Cabrera is 2 for 9 in his career against Maholm and has batted .182 over nine career games against Chicago. Former Cub Angel Pagan, owner of a 24-game hit streak at home, is 6 for 18 versus the left-hander.