(SportsNetwork.com) - Tim Lincecum will toe the rubber opposite Homer Bailey on Tuesday night, as the Cincinnati Reds welcome the San Francisco Giants to Great American Ball Park for the opener of a three-game set.
Lincecum has never beaten the Reds in five career regular-season starts (8.65 ERA). However, he did pitch five shutout innings against the Cubs on Wednesday before leaving the game with a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand.
"Disappointment in myself because I didn't give myself that leash to go deeper," said Lincecum, who issued four walks and ran his pitch count up to 96 before exiting. "The blister is something I can't control, but my pitch count is something I can."
The Giants rotation will need to continue holding down the fort with three- time All-Star Matt Cain landing on the disabled list over the weekend. The starters have combined for a 1.17 ERA over the team's last six games.
Meanwhile, Bailey is facing San Francisco for the first time since his second career no-hitter on July 2 of last season (Lincecum also threw a no-hitter 11 days after that meeting). Bailey threw seven innings of two-run ball at Dodger Stadium his last time out, marking his sixth quality start over his past eight appearances. The right-hander struck out six and walked only one batter.
Cincinnati was idle on Monday after notching a 4-3 road win over Arizona a day earlier. The win was the third in a row for the Reds, who will now begin a 10- game homestand with the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers next on the docket.
Cincinnati turned to the long ball on Sunday, as Zack Cozart, Todd Frazier, Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey all hit solo home runs to help atone for nine strikeouts by the Reds lineup. Center fielder Billy Hamilton sat out with a sore right thumb but is expected to return for the Giants series.
"You have to show a little gusto, and I think we've been doing that," Frazier said. "The energy is there, the fun is starting to come back. We're just happy we're playing good ball right now."
San Francisco also had Monday off following Sunday's series-clinching, 8-0 win at St. Louis. The victory was the ninth in a span of 11 games for the surging Giants, who entered the week with a 7 1/2-game lead in the National League West to go along with the best record in the majors.
Tim Hudson earned the victory on Sunday by pitching seven shutout innings. Of course, he got plenty of help from an offense that put four first-inning runs on the board and went on to collect 14 hits. Buster Posey went 3-for-5 to break out of his recent slump, while Pablo Sandoval extended his hitting streak to 12.
The Giants, who are among the National League leaders in runs scored, also began the week tied for the Major League lead with 18 road wins on the season.
The Reds have gone 10-1 at home against San Francisco since 2010, and they have won eight of the last 10 regular-season meetings overall.