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Rowand looks to stay hot vs. Wainwright

Rowand looks to stay hot vs. Wainwright

ST. LOUIS -- Aaron Rowand has cooled off slightly after what has been nearly a two-month hot streak. He's 6-for-28 in his last seven games, dropping his batting average to .297 after he spent most of June over .300.

But Rowand might be primed to rebound in Wednesday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Giants center fielder has thrived against Adam Wainwright, St. Louis' probable starting pitcher. Rowand's hitting .353 (6-for-17) with two doubles off Wainwright, who's 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA in his career against San Francisco.

Rowand has come close to maintaining that pace while reversing his fortunes. A .214 hitter through May 8, Rowand has hit .335 (60-for-179) since then.

Rowand has particularly excelled since moving atop San Francisco's batting order on May 20. Rowand entered Tuesday with a .336 batting average, a .550 slugging percentage and a .934 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) from the leadoff spot -- tops among the National League's No. 1 hitters with at least 150 plate appearances. Rowand also had a .384 on-base percentage as a leadoff man, good for second in the NL.

Pitching matchup
SF: RHP Matt Cain (9-2, 2.57 ERA)
Cain allowed five runs, matching his season-worst, in Friday's 5-1 loss at Milwaukee. But he still managed to look mostly effective, allowing six hits in seven innings and striking out nine. The decision ended his personal seven-game winning streak over a span of nine starts. Cain, who appears bound for the National League All-Star squad, has worked at least six innings in every start and has recorded 10 quality starts in 15 outings. He's living up to his workhorse reputation by averaging 105 pitches per game.

STL: RHP Adam Wainwright (8-5, 3.51 ERA)
Wainwright has settled into something of a pattern this season. He hasn't been efficient, getting into trouble far too often and running up high pitch counts. But he's shown an ability to limit the damage, locking down with men on base. It's added up to a lot of good but not great starts. The problem is that Wainwright and the team expect closer to great from Wainwright, who was the Opening Day starter at Busch Stadium.

Manager Bruce Bochy said that shortstop Edgar Renteria, who has been in and out of the No. 2 spot in the batting order, will continue to hit sixth or seventh as he has done recently. Bochy not only likes Renteria's run-producing potential from that portion of the order, but he also pointed out that the 33-year-old who has endured leg problems won't be asked to steal as much. ... ESPN's telecast of Wednesday's game will be blacked out in the Bay Area and the St. Louis region. Northern California viewers still can see the game on CSN Bay Area. ... Class A outfielder Roger Kieschnick of San Jose and short-season rookie-level right-hander Wilber Bucardo of Salem-Keizer both earned Player of the Week honors in their respective leagues. Kieschnick hit .571 with three homers and nine RBIs to win the California League award for the second week in a row. Bucardo was honored after going 2-0 with an 0.90 ERA in two starts.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KNBR 680

Up next
• Thursday: Giants (Barry Zito, 4-7, 4.55) at Cardinals (Todd Wellemeyer, 6-7, 5.68), 4:15 p.m. PT
• Friday: Giants (Ryan Sadowski, 1-0, 0.00) vs. Astros (Felipe Paulino, 2-4, 5.51), 7:15 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Giants (Tim Lincecum, 8-2, 2.37) vs. Astros (Russ Ortiz, 3-3, 3.36), 1:05 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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