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hongwei28 Feb 10

SAN FRANCISCO — Johnny Cueto returns from a two-month stint on the disabled list to open a 10-game homestand when the San Francisco Giants host the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of a four-game series Thursday night.

The Giants completed a six-game trip with a thud Wednesday Ondrej Kase Jersey , dropping a third straight game at Colorado to cancel out an impressive three-game sweep at Arizona.

San Francisco will have to hope a return home rejuvenates the bats that produced 41 runs during a recent 7-3 homestand. The Giants were held to three runs at Colorado, their lowest total ever in a three-game series at Coors Field by a full four runs.

Cueto surely has the potential to turn the Giants’ pitching fortunes back in a positive direction. Before being sidelined by a sprained right elbow, he went 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in five starts in March and April.

After giving up no runs in two injury-rehab starts at Triple-A Sacramento, he was deemed healthy enough to return to the Giants’ rotation.

“When you’ve got one of your big guys ready to go, you pitch him,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced this week. “He passed all the tests. He checked every box off. He’s thrown the ball well — no runs. His bullpen (Monday) went well, he’s practiced bunts, he’s set to go.”

Cueto will be making his 24th career start against the Cardinals, against whom he has gone 7-8 with a 3.74 ERA.

He has never lost to St. Louis since joining the Giants in 2016, going 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three starts.

The 32-year-old has had more than his fair share of success against some of the Cardinals’ top guns: Matt Carpenter (.217), Marcell Ozuna (.200) and Dexter Fowler (.158).

Cueto will face a Cardinals team that will be riding the momentum of a late explosion that produced an 8-4 win at Arizona on Wednesday night.

Before that win, St. Louis had lost five of its last six games, having totaled 19 runs in those games.

The Cardinals will send out 24-year-old right-hander Luke Weaver (4-7, 5.16) to face Cueto.

The third-year major-leaguer has struggled in his last nine starts, going 1-5, and is coming off his worst outing of the season when he allowed eight runs in 4 2/3 innings in an 11-4 home loss to Atlanta on Saturday.

Weaver has pitched well against the Giants in his career, going 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA in two starts Rickard Rakell Jersey , both of which were in San Francisco.

Interestingly, Weaver has allowed just one home run to a current member of the Giants, and that happens to be Madison Bumgarner, who is scheduled to pitch Sunday’s series finale against Jack Flaherty.

The Giants also expect to get Jeff Samardzija back from the disabled list during the series. He is slated to return from shoulder and pectoral soreness to start Saturday.

The Cardinals (44-41) and Giants (45-43) will open the series with nearly identical records. Both would be on the outside looking in had the playoffs begun Thursday.

Three years after going undrafted out of Drury College, Trevor Richards has earned his first major league win.

Richards pitched six effective innings to lead the Miami Marlins to a 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.

”It’s great, it’s good to get that one out of the way,” Richards said. ”It’s been too long so it’s good to get it done.”

Richards (1-3) allowed two hits in his seventh major league start. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out two and walked three.

”He’s been a good story, he’s thrown the ball well,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”Obviously Pitcher of the Year last year in the minor leagues, really good reports on his makeup and how he works, competes, and pays attention so it’s good to see guys like that have success.”

Richards walked the first two batters of the game before settling in.

”I got a little too excited for the game, a little amped up and lost mechanics,” Richards said. ”I was able to settle down and keep going.”

Brandon Crawford’s groundout in the first inning drove in the only run for the Giants, who had just three hits.

”Three hits, that’s not going to work,” manager Bruce Bochy said. ”We had a hard time getting guys on base and just getting something going. That’s the ballgame.”

Kyle Barraclough pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save in six chances. He has not allowed a run over his last 14 games and a career-best 13 2/3 innings.

JT Riddle had a two-run double for Miami Marquis Haynes Jersey , and Starlin Castro had two hits and knocked in a run.

”Just enough,” Mattingly said.

San Francisco right-hander Chris Stratton (7-4) worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning, but ran into trouble in the third when he again loaded the bases. This time, Castro singled in Derek Dietrich and Riddle followed with a two-run double to right field.

”I let it get away from me there,” Stratton said. ”I thought I made some really good pitches. Give them credit.”

Stratton then retired his final 13 batters. He allowed four hits in seven innings.

RIDDLE’S BIG HIT

Riddle’s two-run double gave him his first multi-RBI game of the season and eighth of his career.

”(Stratton) left me a fastball over the middle of the plate after I had swung through two,” Riddle said. ”I was a little late on those so I was thinking he might come back with another one, he did, left it over the middle, and I put a pretty good swing on it.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (appendix) is expected to join the team in Los Angeles later this week after making progress from emergency surgery on June 2. ”He soft-tossed in Arizona, threw, did quite a bit of baseball activities,” Bochy said. ”Tomorrow he’ll take regular batting practice so that’s the big step. If he feels fine doing that, then we’re getting close on him.”

UP NEXT

Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (2-4, 5.06 ERA) will start the third game of the series on Wednesday in his hometown for the first time in front of a number of family members and friends.

Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith (5-6, 3.70) is 5-4 with a 2.70 ERA over his last nine starts.