Cardinals head to the City by the Bay

Preview of the two-game matchup between the 2010 and 2011 World Champions in San Francisco.

Already among elite company, Madison Bumgarner has a chance to become just the fourth pitcher in team history to win nine consecutive home starts since the Giants moved to San Francisco.

Not having to face former teammate Carlos Beltran would likely help his chances.

In a matchup of the two most recent World Series champions, the Giants open a two-game set against a St. Louis Cardinals club hoping to have Beltran back in the lineup Wednesday night in his return to San Francisco.

Bumgarner (5-2, 2.80 ERA) has been lights-out at AT&T Park dating to August, winning his last eight starts while compiling a 1.00 ERA and striking out 53 in 54 innings. While the left-hander's current run is tied with Bob Knepper and Juan Marichal for the fourth-longest since the club relocated in 1958, he can join Jack Sanford (10), Ron Bryant (10) and Billy Pierce (13) as the only players to win at least nine consecutive home outings with a victory Wednesday.

It's unclear if Bumgarner will have to worry about facing Beltran, who was held out of the Cardinals' starting lineup for the second consecutive day Tuesday. Beltran, who spent the second half last year with the Giants (18-18) before signing with St. Louis in the offseason, was batting .360 with six homers in his last six starts before sitting out.

After dropping a season-worst four in a row, reigning World Series champion St. Louis (21-15) got back on track and salvaged a two-game split with the Chicago Cubs with a 7-6, walk-off victory Tuesday. Matt Carpenter and Matt Holliday both went deep, and Yadier Molina came through with the game-winning RBI single with two outs in the ninth.

"There's going to be some loud music playing in the clubhouse, and there's going to be some crazy stuff on the plane, too," said Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who spent his last two seasons as a player with the Giants in 2005-06. "I can't tell you how proud I am about just the fight in this team. That's going to pay off."

The Cardinals have won four straight on the road but could have trouble making it five against Bumgarner, who aside from going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA at Arizona is 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA.

He's started against the Cardinals twice - both at Busch Stadium - and won both while posting a 2.57 ERA.

Bumgarner saw his five-start winning streak come to an end with Friday's 5-1 loss to the Diamondbacks. He allowed five runs and scattered seven hits.

After going 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA in April, Jaime Garcia (2-2, 4.09) has had a rough go this month. The left-hander saw his ERA balloon to 7.71 over two starts in May after yielding five runs and nine hits over 5 2-3 innings of Friday's 9-7, 12-inning loss to Atlanta.

"I'm just frustrated, because I want to do better than just battling and staying focused," Garcia told "I want to go and give my team a chance to win."

A matchup against San Francisco could be just what Garcia needs to get back on track. The Tamaulipas native is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA over three career starts against the Giants, limiting them to a .194 average.

In his only appearance against them last season, Garcia struck out a career high-tying nine over six innings of one-run ball during a 3-2, walk-off loss at AT&T Park.

San Francisco's three-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday with a 5-4 loss to Colorado. The Giants had only two hits in their season-high 17 chances with runners in scoring position.

San Francisco took five of seven from St. Louis last season, including two of three at home.

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