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Giants Head Home To Host Surging Cubs

(AP) -- The San Francisco Giants look to use a return home to bolster their pursuit of the NL West lead, but their difficult schedule isn't ceasing.

The Giants open their homestand Tuesday night against a short-handed Chicago Cubs team seeking to pad its sizable lead on a playoff berth while Jake Arrieta attempts to become MLB's first 16-game winner.

San Francisco (66-58) batted .226 with 16 runs while going 2-5 on the road against two of the NL's best teams, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. The Giants, though, are just 1 1/2 games behind the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers in the division.

"It goes through cycles," manager Bruce Bochy told MLB's official website. "A week ago we were getting all the big hits we needed, and this road trip we've had a hard time getting them in."

The Giants get to resume their NL West chase at AT&T Park, where they've won 13 of 15 while hitting .317 with 84 runs. They'll again have to face two of the NL's better clubs - the Cubs (72-51) and St. Louis - in a six-game homestand before a three-game showdown at Los Angeles.

San Francisco is 7-10 in a 26-game stretch against teams that currently have winning records.

The Giants opened that run of play by getting swept in four games in Chicago from Aug. 6-9 and allowed the Cubs to take the NL's second wild card. They currently own a 6 1/2-game advantage over San Francisco but won't have two contributors to their playoff push for the near future.

Jorge Soler could be out for a month because of a strained left oblique and reliever Jason Motte also went on the disabled list Monday with a strained right shoulder. Soler was 6 for 13 with four RBIs against the Giants.

"It's just one of those things that happens," manager Joe Maddon said. "Everybody faces the different dilemmas this time of year, and you have to play through the bad lie. … You have to have depth."

Addison Russell was not in the lineup for Monday's 2-1 win over Cleveland, being given the day off as his fiancee is expecting their first child. He may still be day to day with a groin injury that forced him out of Sunday's victory against Atlanta.

Kris Bryant's 20th home run sent the Cubs to their fifth straight win and 20th in their last 24 games.

"They came through and I knew I was going to get an at-bat there and I made the most of it," said Bryant, who became the fifth rookie in Cubs history to hit 20 homers in a season.

Hunter Pence (oblique), Angel Pagan (knee) and Joe Panik (back) are on the disabled list for San Francisco. Pence went 6 for 13 in the four games in Chicago and had one of his team's four hits off Arrieta (15-6, 2.30 ERA) in a 2-0 loss Aug. 9.

The right-hander added to his NL Cy Young Award candidacy with six scoreless innings in Thursday's 7-1 win over Atlanta, improving to 4-0 with a 0.66 ERA this month.

Arrieta, 7-0 with a 1.44 ERA in his last nine road outings, took a 4-0 loss in his most recent against San Francisco on May 27, 2014.

Matt Cain (2-3, 5.66) allowed five runs in a season-low four innings Aug. 8 in an 8-6 loss in Chicago, but pitched well Wednesday. The right-hander yielded two runs in six innings in St. Louis but remained winless in five consecutive starts after the Giants' 4-3 loss.

Cain is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his last six home starts against the Cubs, with the most recent July 26, 2013.

Updated August 24, 2015

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