MLB: Giants eager to disrupt Guardians’ home-field mojo

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The San Francisco Giants will try to win their fourth series in a row when they face the host Cleveland Guardians on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of a three-game series.

It will be no easy task for San Francisco, though, as the Guardians are 29-11 at home this season and have dropped just one series in Cleveland.

The Giants were in good position to steal the series after picking up a 4-2 win on Friday in the opener. But things took a turn for the worse on Saturday, when San Francisco went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, left 10 men on base and saw its hitters combine for 14 strikeouts.

Still, the Giants nearly rallied for a victory in the 5-4 setback, leaving San Francisco third baseman Matt Chapman feeling optimistic heading into the series finale.

“We’ve been playing good baseball,” said Chapman, who is batting .340 over his past 14 games. “We’re playing tough teams.

“We had opportunities (Saturday). … We’re competitive every day and it’s something we can keep building on.”

Carlos Carrasco (3-6, 5.21 ERA) could present a challenge for the Giants, as the right-hander is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in his past three starts. He is coming off a quality start Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, an outing in which he gave up three runs on four hits in six innings.

Carrasco did not factor into the decision against Chicago.

“(Carrasco) turning in six innings, that’s what we needed. He was great,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said. “(He’s) had really good (starts) and had some that really haven’t gone his way. But this guy knows how to pitch, and he finds a way to get through the innings for us.”

Despite having a 1-2 record in six career starts against the Giants, Carrasco has posted a 2.95 ERA in those contests.

San Francisco will counter with right-hander Hayden Birdsong (1-0, 4.66), a rookie scheduled to make his third career big-league start.

Last time out, Birdsong came away with his first major league victory by holding the Atlanta Braves to two runs and four hits in five innings on Tuesday.

“He’s had some walks that weren’t real competitive and been able to come back and make some adjustments,” Giants manager Bob Melvin said of Birdsong, a 22-year-old. “For a young kid who throws hard and maybe has walked a few guys in the past, that’s what you look for is ability to make adjustments.”

Sunday marks Birdsong’s first career appearance against Cleveland, and he will have to find a way to contain Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan, who is 7-for-17 (.412) with two homers and three RBIs over his past four games.

Kwan went 2-for-4 with a solo shot and two runs on Saturday. He is batting .365 this season.

“It’s unbelievable to watch that guy take ABs,” Cleveland right-hander Ben Lively said of Kwan. “Just the confidence level is through the roof. If you’re on the mound against that guy, it’s gotta be a tough go.”

Outfielder Heliot Ramos has been swinging a hot bat for San Francisco, going 12-for-29 (.414) with two home runs and five RBIs while hitting safely in six of his past seven games.

–Field Level Media

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