Giants hope Lincecum stays on track at Padres

Last weekend against the San Diego Padres, Tim Lincecum looked like a pitcher with two Cy Young Awards under his belt.

The San Francisco Giants ace looks for a repeat performance on Friday night in the opener of a three-game set at San Diego's Petco Park.

After allowing 10 runs and two homers over 11 innings of consecutive no- decisions, Lincecum flashed vintage form at home versus the Padres on Saturday. He scattered four hits and two walks over 6 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out a season-high eight in a 2-0 win as relievers Jose Mijares, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo finished off the shutout.

The 28-year-old righty improved to 2-0 with a 3.97 earned run average in four starts this season and 11-5 with a 2.33 ERA in 23 versus the Padres.

"It is difficult, the ball comes out of (Lincecum's) hand and it looks like a strike, but then just doesn't get there. You have to be ready to hit, but tonight he was on," Padres manager Bud Black said.

That victory was part of a three-game sweep for the Giants last weekend and they have won six of their past eight in San Diego.

The Giants followed the sweep by winning the opener of a three-game set versus the Arizona Diamondbacks, but dropped back-to-back extra-inning games to lose the series.

Brandon Belt hit a game-tying two-run homer as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning on Tuesday in an eventual 6-4 loss in 11 innings, while Brandon Crawford extended Wednesday's finale with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth off Arizona's David Hernandez.

"Hernandez throws 95 (mph), so obviously I had to be ready for the fastball," Crawford said. "Just got the barrel out there for the slider."

Crawford ended with three hits, including a run-scoring double in the seventh inning, but Javier Lopez gave up a pinch-hit sac fly with the bases loaded in the 10th inning.

The Padres, meanwhile, lost their first two games to the Milwaukee Brewers following their series with the Giants, but snapped that five-game slide with a 2-1 win on Wednesday.

Carlos Quentin hit a homer and Edinson Volquez turned in a gem with seven shutout innings, scattering five hits without a walk.

"I got more movement now on my fastball," said Volquez. "I'm not even trying to throw hard anymore, I just want to make the right pitch."

Pressed into emergency duty versus Lincecum last weekend with Clayton Richard scratched due to illness, San Diego's Andrew Cashner earned another start tonight with a solid outing.

The right-hander took the loss in his first start of the season following five relief appearances, but gave up just two runs on two hits and a walk in four innings. The lone damage off the hurler was a two-run homer by Pablo Sandoval in the fourth inning.

Cashner, 26, fell to 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA on the season following his first career start versus the Giants. He is 0-3 against them lifetime in seven total appearances with a 5.40 ERA.