The San Francisco Giants are beginning to string together wins, but that hasn't been the case lately when Tim Lincecum takes the mound.
The Giants have lost each of Lincecum's last six starts and will send the right-hander to work tonight against the NL West-rival San Diego Padres in the opener of a three-game series at Petco Park.
Lincecum is 0-4 with a 5.88 earned run average in his last six appearances and hasn't prevailed since beating these Padres back on April 28. He pitched eight innings that day and allowed one unearned run and three hits to improve to 10-4 in 19 career starts in this series.
Lincecum suffered his third consecutive setback in last Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Arizona and pitched well enough for the win, but fell to 2-6 in 11 starts with a 5.82 ERA after yielding two runs -- one earned -- over seven innings.
"We're so behind Timmy," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after the game. "He's a guy we want out there."
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is just 1-3 with an 8.49 ERA in five starts on the road this season.
San Francisco is coming off a four-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs in which all four starters (Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong) recorded wins. It was Vogelsong's turn in Monday's 3-2 victory that secured San Francisco's seventh win in eight tries. Buster Posey scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning when Joaquin Arias grounded into a double play, while Vogelsong tossed seven innings of two-run ball. Jeremy Affeldt recorded his first save of the season by holding the Cubs scoreless the rest of the way.
"I felt like that was definitely the best all-around stuff I had," Vogelsong said. "It's kind of surprising I let up that many hits, but that was probably the best I've felt stuff-wise this season."
Giants pitchers have gone seven straight starts lasting at least seven innings, while allowing two runs or less in that span. Brandon Crawford had two RBI for the Giants, who earned their first four-game sweep over the Cubs since June 17-20, 1999 at Candlestick Park. Angel Pagan extended his home hitting streak to 28 games with a 2-for-4 performance.
The Giants' recent surge has pulled them within three games of Los Angeles for division bragging rights. The Dodgers defeated Philadelphia Monday night.
San Diego will continue a six-game homestand tonight and has dropped two straight and 11 of 13 games. It lost two of three meetings with the Diamondbacks over the weekend and suffered a 6-0 loss Sunday, as Eric Stults was banged around for six runs and seven hits, including three homers, through 6 1/3 innings. Miguel Montero's two-run homer in the sixth put the game away.
"Early on I got some quick outs, was able to get some ground balls. And then that sixth inning, I got a guy on base and I think I kind of got up in the zone with some of my pitches," Stults said.
Mark Kotsay and Logan Forsythe each had two hits for the Padres, who are last in the NL West and 13-18 at home. Kotsay and Forsythe were both activated off the disabled list before the game. Padres outfielder Will Venable left the game in the top of the third inning with a strained right oblique muscle and is day-to-day. He is batting .268 with four homers, 12 RBI and 21 runs scored.
"We will see how it sets up," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Some [oblique strains] are nasty, some are not. Some go away quickly."
The Padres have 11 players currently on the disabled list.
Taking the mound for San Diego tonight will be Anthony Bass. Bass is 2-5 with a 4.00 ERA in 12 games (10 starts) this season and did not record a decision in last Wednesday's 8-6 loss at the Cubs. He allowed five runs in 4 2/3 innings and has permitted 11 runs over his previous two trips to the hill.
Bass, a right-hander, lost to the Giants back on April 28 in a 2-0 setback by the bay and wasted a strong performance. He allowed both runs in eight frames with eight strikeouts and no walks. He is 0-1 with a 1.10 ERA in five career games (1 start) against San Francisco.
The Padres lost two of three in that series at AT&T Park and are just 4-13 in the past 17 meetings between the teams.