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Giants try to find their offense in clash with Cubs

Runs have been hard to come by for the San Francisco Giants and nobody knows that more than staff ace Tim Lincecum.

Lincecum was left out to dry in last night's 7-0 loss to the Chicago Cubs in the opener of a three-game series from AT&T Park and has received zero runs of support in 10 of his 28 starts this season and two runs or less 17 times. The defending World Series champions are in danger of missing the postseason and look to rebound Tuesday in the middle test of this set.

The Giants mustered only two hits by Andres Torres and Mike Fontenot, while Lincecum allowed four runs and six hits, including a career-high three homers, in six-plus innings of work. He also walked four and struck out four batters for San Francisco, which has scored two runs or fewer in 23 of its last 43 games since the All-Star break. It has lost the first game of a series in the past 12 consecutive sets, dating back to July 22 versus Milwaukee. The last time the Giants won the opener of a series was July 18 against the Dodgers.

"We have to come here and fight. I think we're doing that," said outfielder Carlos Beltran, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. "Right now, nothing's really going our way. No one wants us to win more than ourselves. We're coming the ballpark every single day working hard and trying to make things happen and unfortunately nothing's happened."

Beltran is the only player with at least two extra-base hits on this 12-game homestand (3-4), while the team has recorded a total of eight extra-base hits on the residency.

San Francisco fell a season high-tying five games behind Arizona for the National League West lead and is nine games in back of Atlanta in the Wild Card race. The last time the ballclub sat five games off the division lead was May 28.

Ryan Vogelsong draws the start for the Giants tonight and hopes to get a little run support. He has lost two straight and three of four starts in which San Francisco has scored only six runs, and is 10-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 24 games (22 starts) this season. Vogelsong last pitched in Thursday's 3-1 loss versus Houston and allowed three runs in 7 1/3 innings.

The right-hander defeated the Cubs on June 28 this season and is 3-4 with a 6.28 earned run average in 13 career games (7 starts) against them. He is 6-3 at home this season.

Chicago is out to play spoiler and succeeded last night thanks to home runs by Blake DeWitt, Carlos Pena, Alfonso Soriano and Geovany Soto. DeWitt highlighted a five-run seventh inning with a three-run shot, as the Cubs ended a four-game slide and won for the second time in nine tries.

"We tried to make him work, tried to make him throw a lot of pitches," DeWitt said of Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young Award winner. "Runs are hard to come by against a guy like that and we were able to score a couple tonight."

Cubs starter Randy Wells earned his first career shutout, yielded just two hits and struck out seven.

Matt Garza aims to follow suit when he takes the hill for Chicago tonight. He is 6-10 with a 3.68 ERA in 25 starts and dropped an 8-3 decision versus Atlanta the last time out on Thursday, when he permitted six runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in five innings.

"I'm not going to quit," Garza said after that loss. "[If I quit,] I might as well not even show up. I battled my butt off today. It is what it is. It's just one of those things."

The right-hander, who's in his first season with the Cubs, has never faced San Francisco and owns a 2-5 mark with a 5.07 ERA in 11 road starts this season.

Chicago is 4-3 against the Giants this season.