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Millwood, Lincecum square off in Seattle

Kevin Millwood takes the hill for the first time since starting Seattle's combined no-hitter last Friday when the Mariners continue a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants at Safeco Field.

Millwood, who pitched a no-hitter while with the Philadelphia Phillies back in 2003, breezed through the first six frames against the Los Angeles Dodgers last Friday, but had to leave the game after warming up in the seventh because of a mild right groin strain.

Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen closed out the no-no, making it the 10th combined no-hitter in major league history and first since Houston did it in 2003. Pryor was the one who was credited with the win.

"I'm excited, I'm excited for all these guys who came into the game out of the bullpen," said Millwood, who is 3-5 on the year with a 3.57 ERA. "I guess it's a little bit more exciting for those guys when they can be a part of it. I wasn't very happy when I came out of the game, and it took me a couple innings to get a little excited about it, but those guys got all the tough outs.

"The first six is what it is. I've seen a lot of people do that. From seven, eight, nine, those guys got all those outs. That was special to see."

Millwood has faced the Giants 10 times and is 5-4 against them with a 4.07 ERA.

San Francisco, meanwhile, will counter with struggling right-hander Tim Lincecum, who is a miserable 2-7 on the year with a 6.00 ERA. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner lost his fifth straight decision on Sunday against Texas and looked bad in doing so, surrendering five runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. He also walked four batters and has issued 39 free passes in 72 innings this season.

"I was just looking to come in and compete against a good team," Lincecum said. "It's just poor execution on some pitches, leaving the ball up in the zone. Not executing, that's the biggest problem."

Lincecum has now gone eight starts without a victory, the longest winless stretch of his career.

"We keep saying he's close, and I still believe that," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "But he was off at times today, no getting around that."

This will be his first start versus the Mariners.

San Francisco rolled to a 4-2 win in Friday's opener, as Ryan Vogelsong tossed seven-plus strong innings and Melky Cabrera blasted a two-run home run. Buster Posey also ripped a solo shot for the Giants, who have won three of their last four games.

Vogelsong (6-2) was charged with two runs on four hits and three walks with six strikeouts to collect the win. Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo combined to finish the eighth and Santiago Casilla recorded his 18th save of the year with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

"He keeps focused, he was a little off today but he finds a way to get it done." Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's nice to be able to take these guys deep into the game, it allows you to use them the way you want to use them."

Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez each knocked in a run and Miguel Olivo added two hits and a run scored for the Mariners, losers of six consecutive games.

Jason Vargas (7-6) allowed four runs on 10 hits and a pair of walks while striking out one over eight innings to absorb the loss.

"Jason was good. He made a mistake there on the homer, but he kept us in it," remarked Mariners manager Eric Wedge. "You just have to take advantage of opportunities when they are presented."

Seattle has won nine of its last 12 against the Giants.