Lincecum tries to keep Giants in first vs. D'Backs

Lincecum tries to keep Giants in first vs. D'Backs
August 2, 2011, 1:45 pm
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Aug. 2, 2011

ARIZONA (60-49) vs.
GIANTS (61-48)

Coverage begins at 6:30 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks are hot at the plate. The San Francisco Giants are suddenly struggling on the mound.

That combination has tightened the NL West race.

The Giants send ace Tim Lincecum to the mound Tuesday night as they try to avoid a fifth straight loss and maintain sole possession of first place in the division.

Arizona (60-49) pulled within a game of San Francisco (61-48) for the top spot after a 5-2 victory in Monday's series opener. Ian Kennedy pitched eight strong innings and the Diamondbacks scored five runs in the sixth.

"It was nice to come in and get Game 1," said Arizona's Willie Bloomquist, who capped the decisive sixth with a two-run single. "Hopefully, it kind of sets the tone for the rest of the series that we beat one of their horses today and our guy pitched pretty dang good, too."

Arizona has won its last two against the Giants after dropping seven of the first eight meetings.

"They've owned us," Kennedy said. "We've got to keep this momentum."

The Diamondbacks haven't been in first since June 24, but they've been on a tear recently, winning seven of nine while averaging 6.0 runs. Justin Upton extended his hitting streak to 13 games Monday with a single in the sixth.

However, they may have trouble keeping things going against Lincecum (9-8, 2.78 ERA), who has dominated Arizona.

He is 7-2 with a 2.42 ERA against the Diamondbacks, lowering that ERA after allowing four hits while striking out nine in eight innings before leaving without a decision in a 1-0 victory May 10.

Lincecum improved to 3-1 with a 1.08 ERA in his last four starts, limiting Philadelphia to three hits in six scoreless innings of a 4-1 road win Thursday.

Though the right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.66 ERA against the Diamondbacks at home, he's only 3-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 10 starts overall at AT&T Park this season.

The Giants hope the two-time Cy Young Award winner can help get their rotation back on track. Matt Cain became the third straight starter to fail to make it out of the sixth Monday.

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San Francisco has given up 25 runs in the last four games after beginning that stretch with the best ERA in the majors at 3.06.

The Diamondbacks will hand the ball to Daniel Hudson (10-7, 3.81), who looks to avoid a third straight losing start.

He gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings of a 4-3 defeat to San Diego on Thursday after surrendering five runs and 10 hits in 6 1-3 innings against Colorado on July 22.

The right-hander, who has set a career high in wins, has lost both starts against the Giants this year after winning both matchups in 2010. He gave up three runs over 6 2-3 innings in a 3-2 loss May 12 at San Francisco.

Pablo Sandoval, 0 for 6 the last two games, is 3 for 7 with two homers against Hudson while the newly acquired Orlando Cabrera is 3 for 9 with two doubles and a home run.