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Giants entertain Astros at AT&T Park

The San Francisco Giants hope everything goes through with Star closer Heath Bell and will get back to game series versus the Houston Astros from AT&T Park.

The Giants reportedly put a claim in for Bell off waivers from San Diego on Wednesday and now the Padres have to decide whether to work out a deal for the right-hander or pull him from waivers and keep him on the roster.

"That's common in baseball, especially this time of year. I can't even tell you what all happened," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in reference to rumored deals. "That happens around baseball, so it just happened to make news. That's what it is right now. When that happens, a club claims somebody, sometimes those two clubs talk and make a deal. I'm not talking about this as much as what happens with other deals."

Bochy���s ballclub just split a two-game series with San Diego to kick off a 12- game homestand and took Wednesday's finale by a 2-1 score behind a brilliant outing from Tim Lincecum. The right-hander struck out seven and walked five over eight innings of one-run ball and Santiago Casilla hurled a scoreless ninth for the save.

"He got into a couple of jams, but Timmy did what he does best, that's making great pitches when he has to," Bochy said. "We needed that with what happened yesterday and our struggles here recently. It takes a great pitching effort to get you back on track."

Lincecum also drove in a run and Carlos Beltran homered for the first time in a Giants uniform. Acquired from the New York Mets in July, Beltran was in his second game since coming off of the disabled list. His first homer in 13 games with the Giants lifted them to their second win in three games. San Francisco is still two games behind Arizona for the NL West lead and won for just the third time in its last nine tries.

The Giants have lost 10 series openers in a row and hope Ryan Vogelsong can stop the streak when he takes the mound Thursday. The right-hander has won a career-high 10 games this season (10-3, 2.47 ERA), but has lost two of his previous three outings, including Friday���s 6-0 loss at Houston. He allowed five runs - two earned - over seven innings in his 23rd appearance, 21st start, this season.

Vogelsong began the year 9-1 and has fallen on hard times lately. He is 2-1 with a 2.52 earned run average in 10 games (3 starts) against the Astros.

Houston has lost four in a row after winning four straight and was just swept in three games at Colorado. In Wednesday���s 7-6 loss in 10 innings at Coors Field, Aneury Rodriguez���s wild pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning allowed Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to score the game-winning run.

Wandy Rodriguez started for the ���Stros in what could be his last appearance with the club and did not perform well in the no-decision, as he was reached for six runs, four of which were earned, and 10 hits in six innings. He also gave up a pair of home runs and was reportedly claimed off waivers by the Rockies.

"I can't make predictions," Astros general manager Ed Wade said on the team���s site. "I don't predict what could happen, but my gut tells me at this point there's no reason to believe that Wandy will be pitching anywhere than wherever we're playing in five days, which is Houston."

Clint Barmes went deep for Houston and Brian Bogusevic finished with three hits and an RBI in defeat.

The Astros will send Henry Sosa to the mound Thursday and he���s 0-2 with a 6.35 earned run average in his first three major league starts. Sosa, a right-hander, just faced the Giants in Sunday���s 6-4 loss at Minute Maid Park and allowed four runs and five hits in four innings of work.

Sosa has allowed four runs in each of his first three starts this season.

We're going to bring back Sosa on three days' rest and start him Thursday," manager Brad Mills said on the Astros' site. "We thought this would be an opportunity to be able to do that. We threw him short, five innings. We'll bring him back on Thursday and we'll call up [J.A.] Happ to start the game on Friday."

Houston took a three-game series from the Giants earlier in the year.