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Johnson set to face pesky Cardinals

Johnson set to face pesky Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- Few blemishes exist on Randy Johnson's resume. His body of work against the St. Louis Cardinals constitute one of them.

Johnson struggled against St. Louis last year, recording a 9.31 ERA in two starts. He's also 6-7 lifetime against the Cardinals, who are the only National League team to post a winning mark against the Big Unit. Two American League clubs own that distinction -- the New York Yankees (8-6) and Tampa Bay Rays (5-3).

But Johnson, who's seeking his 303rd career victory, has surged lately. He's 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA and a .217 opponents' batting average in his last seven starts, lowering his ERA from 6.86 to 4.68. In his last start at Oakland, Johnson worked seven innings for just the fourth time this season.

Most importantly for the Giants, they're 9-6 in Johnson's starts, including victories in five of his last six outings.

Only three of the currently active Cardinals have 10 or more at-bats against Johnson: first baseman Albert Pujols (.429, 9-for-21), third baseman Mark DeRosa (.077, 1-for-13) and backup catcher Jason LaRue (.000, 0-for-10).

Pitching matchup
SF: LHP Randy Johnson (7-5, 4.68 ERA)
Johnson pitched seven strong innings for the fourth time this season on Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics. Johnson allowed one run on six hits and struck out six. He's now won three starts in a row and five of his last six. In two games against the St. Louis Cardinals last season, the Big Unit went 0-1 with an ERA of 9.31.

STL: RHP Chris Carpenter (5-2, 1.78 ERA)
One rocky inning on Thursday sent Carpenter's ERA soaring -- all the way to 1.78. With only one more start before All-Stars are chosen, the loss may have cost him a chance to pitch in the Midsummer Classic, but few in the National League have been better this year. Carpenter is throwing everything he's got and throwing it all for quality strikes -- fastball, cutter, curveball and changeup. He's a handful, though once again it appears that he'll be facing off against a fellow former Cy Young Award winner -- for the fourth time this year.

Tidbits
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, each of San Francisco's four pitchers who won their Major League debut before Ryan Sadowski did so on Sunday earned this distinction by beating the Florida Marlins: Salomon Torres (1993), Jamie Brewington (1995), Osvaldo Fernandez (1996) and Joe Nathan (1999). ... Matt Downs' homer on Sunday was the first this season by a Giants second baseman. San Francisco has homered in five consecutive games and in 24 this month, compared to 12 in April and 14 in May, both National League-low totals. ... The Giants' 7-0 victory Sunday at Milwaukee was their first shutout win on the road this season.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• CSN-BA

On radio
• KNBR 680

Up next
• Wednesday: Giants (Matt Cain, 9-2, 2.57) at Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, 8-5, 3.51), 5:15 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Giants (Barry Zito, 4-7, 4.55) at Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 6-7, 5.68), 4:15 p.m. PT
• Friday: Giants (TBD) vs. Astros (Felipe Paulino, 2-4, 5.51), 7:15 p.m. PT

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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