Tim Lincecum tries to bounce back from the worst start of his career on Sunday and help the San Francisco Giants salvage the finale of their three-game series with the Chicago Cubs at AT&T Park.
Lincecum threw 148 pitches in his no-hitter over San Diego on July 13, but followed that historic showing by getting pounded by the Cincinnati Reds in his first game out of the break on Monday to the tune of eight runs and nine hits in just 3 2/3 innings.
"It's something we've dealt with before so you just have to be prepared for it and know that you're going to get those days off to give yourself that rest and come back strong, but I didn't," said Lincecum, who is a mere 5-10 with a 4.73 ERA on the year.
That awful showing made him just the sixth pitcher since 1900 to allow eight or more runs in the first start after throwing a no-hitter.
"It's hard to measure, whether it was the nine days since he last pitched or the Reds hitters," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after the game. "But if he gets out of the first inning, it's a different ballgame."
Lincecum, whose only win in his last eight starts is that no-hitter, is 4-4 lifetime versus the Cubs with a 3.69 ERA in 11 starts.
Now it's up to him to help the Giants avoid their first three-game sweep to the Cubs in San Francisco since Sept. 13-15, 1993, And they'll have to do so against All-Star left-hander Travis Wood, who is 6-7 with a 2.95 ERA.
Wood lost his first game out of the break in Arizona, as he was hit for four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. He's 0-2 in four starts versus the Giants with a 4.38 ERA.
On Saturday, Nate Schierholtz's home run off Sergio Romo in the ninth inning accounted for the game's only run, as Chicago eked out a 1-0 win.
Schierholtz, who spent the first five-plus seasons of his big-league career in San Francisco, sent a towering fly ball deep to right field that carried into the first row of seats to break a scoreless tie.
Pedro Strop (1-0) worked out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the eighth, and Kevin Gregg left the bags full in the ninth to post his 21st save and close out Chicago's third win in four games.
The Giants, losers in six of their last seven games, filled the bases in the eighth without getting the ball out of the infield with a walk and a pair of misplayed bunts. Strop escaped unscathed by striking out Hunter Pence after getting both Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval to ground into force outs at the plate.
San Francisco is now percentage points behind the San Diego Padres for last place in the NL West and is nine games back of division-leading Los Angeles.
"It's frustrating," Pence said of the team's struggles. "It's not fun when things don't fall your way."
Romo (3-6) took the loss for the second straight night after serving up Schierholtz's homer and blowing a save in the series opener.
Despite losses in the first two games of this set, San Francisco is 9-4 in this series since the start of the 2012 season.