Josh Johnson used to be a Cy Young Award candidate. Tim Lincecum has earned the honor twice.
The two right-handers will go at it when the Toronto Blue Jays pay a quick visit to the San Francisco Giants Tuesday at AT&T Park.
Johnson gets the nod in the first of two straight by the bay and is coming off a lengthy stint on the disabled list because of inflammation in his right biceps. Johnson last pitched in an 8-4 win over the New York Yankees on April 21 and did not receive a decision, allowing four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The big righty made three rehab appearances in the minor leagues and manager John Gibbons is happy Johnson is healthy again.
"Yeah, he's good to go because he felt fine," Gibbons told the club's website. "It's rare when you see guys, big league pitchers, go down and pitch in the Minor Leagues; they usually get pounded pretty good.
"I'd almost be surprised if he didn't, if you want to know the truth. Why that happens, I don't know, but you see it all the time. But the key is, he's healthy."
Johnson gave up seven earned runs in his 11 2/3 innings in stints with Class-A Dunedin and two in Buffalo, the Jay's Triple-A affiliate. Johnson is 0-3 in six career starts against San Francisco and 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA in four career starts at AT&T Park.
Lincecum is fighting to remain in the rotation and has been off so far this season. He has lost three straight starts and five of six decisions, and last appeared in a 9-6 setback to Oakland on Wednesday, when he was touched for six runs, five earned, and seven hits in a season-low 4 1/3 innings.
"He is a little bit of an enigma," Giants skipper Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum. "His stuff is there. He has really good innings. He's just in a rut where at the critical part of a game, he makes a mistake."
The rut in which Bochy was referring to includes a 3-5 record in 11 starts to go along with a 5.12 earned run average. Lincecum faced the Blue Jays in his rookie campaign of 2007 and was dealt the loss on June 13, as he gave up seven runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings with six K's and four walks.
San Francisco lost both of its meetings in Toronto from May 14-15 and is just 1-5 in the past six matchups between the teams. The Giants were outscored, 21-9, in those two games north of the border and will welcome back All-Star Game MVP Melky Cabrera, who was suspended last season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Cabrera was left off the Giants' postseason roster when his suspension was served.
The defending World Series champion Giants proved they didn't need Cabrera, who was grateful for the opportunity.
"(The Giants) treated me really well when I played there and they gave me an opportunity to play every day and I had a great time playing for them," Cabrera said through an interpreter.
San Francisco salvaged the finale of a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals with Sunday's 4-2 win behind Brandon Belt's pinch-hit two-run double in the top of the seventh inning. Buster Posey was 4-for-4 with a run scored for the Giants, who won for only the second time in seven tries and sit two games behind Arizona for the NL West lead.
Chad Gaudin started for the Giants and earned the win by holding the Cardinals to a pair of runs in six innings. Jeremy Affeldt hurled 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief and Sergio Romo pitched the rest of the game to record his 15th save of the season.
"He went out there and threw strikes, quality strikes," Bochy said of Gaudin. "He just did a great job. He actually went a little further than we even thought."
Giants outfielder Angel Pagan (strained left hamstring) sat out for the eighth straight game and is questionable for Tuesday.
Toronto is just 2-3 on a seven-game road trip, but ended a three-game losing streak with Sunday's 7-4 win in 11 innings at San Diego. Mark DeRosa homered, Anthony Gose had an RBI bunt single and Jose Bautista doubled in Gose in the top of the 11th inning.
Edwin Encarnacion homered and Adam Lind collected three hits and two RBI for the Blue Jays. Casey Janssen got the win with a scoreless 10th inning and Aaron Loup posted his second save in the 11th. A total of six Toronto relievers kept the Padres off the board and starter Ramon Ortiz lasted only two innings, allowing four runs and five hits.
"We weren't able to solve them," Padres manager Bud Black said of the Jays. "We looked as if we were having some good swings against Ortiz and then when they went to their 'pen, we couldn't solve any of their guys. We just couldn't muster any offense, can't explain it, but their bullpen did a nice job this series."