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HOU@SF: Cain pitches 22nd perfect game in MLB history

Matt Cain has already achieved perfection.

Now, he's just looking to help his second-place Giants gain some ground in the National League West and snap a two-game losing streak.

Aside from trying to become the first pitcher to throw back-to-back no-hitters since Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer did so in 1938, Cain will be looking to help his club win its series opener Monday against the Angels and cut into the Dodgers' five-game division lead.

In his last time out, Cain didn't allow a baserunner against Houston, becoming the 22nd pitcher in Major League history to toss a perfect game. His 14 strikeouts tied Sandy Koufax for the most K's in a perfecto.

"It's in your mind, obviously," Cain said. "But I'm not going to think about that. It's a hard thing to duplicate."

Looking for a potential candidate to break up Cain's streak of retiring 32 straight hitters? Look no further than the Angels' biggest bat, first baseman Albert Pujols.

When he was with St. Louis, Pujols owned Cain, reaching base in 12 of the 18 times he has faced him. Pujols has eight hits, four walks, a pair of homers and five RBIs off the Giants righty.

Cain will be countered by Angels right-hander Jerome Williams, who pitched seven brilliant innings against the Dodgers on Tuesday before being done in by a four-run eighth.

After the game, some wondered whether Williams was left in a bit too long, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia pointed to a close call at second base as proof that Williams had enough stuff to remain in the contest.

"He was pitching a heck of a game," Scioscia said. "We all thought he had enough stuff to get out of the inning, and he did get out of the inning. Unfortunately, we didn't get the call."

Angels pitchers have combined to throw 21 consecutive scoreless innings.

Giants: Lincecum to make next start
Despite his struggles, two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum will remain in the Giants' starting rotation, manager Bruce Bochy said before Sunday's game in Seattle.

"I know the results haven't been great for Timmy, but you see too many good signs," Bochy said. "We feel at this point the best thing is to let him fight through this."

General manager Brian Sabean, pitching coach Dave Righetti and Bochy were the three involved in making the decision, which keeps Linecum in line for a start Friday against Oakland.

Lincecum owns a 2-8 mark this season and the Giants are 2-12 in games that he has started. His 6.19 ERA is the highest in the National League among qualified starters.

Angels: Williams to face former club
Williams will be making just the second start of his career against San Francisco, the team that drafted him with the 39th pick in the 1999 Draft. Williams played 2 1/2 seasons for the Giants before he was traded to the Cubs in 2005.

"We're going to beat him, but we're happy for him," Righetti joked.

In his lone start against San Francisco, on Sept. 9, 2005, Williams pitched seven innings and allowed just two runs (one earned). But he was outdueled by Cain, who pitched his first career complete game in his third career start that day.

Worth noting
• The Giants lead the all-time regular-season series between the two teams, 13 games to nine. Of course, the Angels got the better of the Giants when it mattered most, winning the 2002 World Series in seven games.

• The Angels have won 12 of their last 13 Interleague series. Since 2007, they have the best record in the Majors in Interleague Play at 70-32.

• The Halos are riding a four-game winning streak against the Giants, their last loss to San Francisco coming June 20, 2006. Comments