Lincecum tries to pitch Giants over Marlins

( - Tim Lincecum has been on point his last four starts and tries to keep his Cy Young form intact when the San Francisco Giants shoot for a three-game sweep of the Miami Marlins Sunday afternoon.

Lincecum has won his last four starts with a microscopic 0.30 earned run average in that span and has a no-hitter in that time. He tossed seven scoreless innings of three-hit ball in a 5-0 win versus Arizona on June 11 to improve to 9-5 with a 3.66 ERA.

The right-hander and two-time NL Cy Young Award winner has allowed just one run during his unbeaten streak. Lincecum is 3-3 in seven road starts and 2-2 with a 3.83 ERA in six career starts against the Marlins.

Tim Hudson continued his success against the Marlins in Saturday's 5-3 win, as the veteran right-hander gave up just one run in 7 1/3 innings and struck out three to get back on track. Hudson was winless (0-4) in his last five trips to the mound.

"The last couple of games we've played better," said Hudson. "We've had some better at-bats, guys are hitting the ball and having some quality at-bats even when they're getting out. That's what it takes to win ball games."

Hudson was aided by three hits from Pablo Sandoval, while Hunter Pence added two hits and two RBI and Gregor Blanco finished 2-for-3 for the Giants, who have won three straight and seven of the last 11 games to grab a one-game lead over Los Angeles for NL West bragging rights.

The Giants, who will visit Philadelphia next for four games, are riding their longest winning streak since winning five in a row from June 4-8.

Miami will try to stop a six-game slide Sunday and finds itself 8 1/2 games off the lead in the NL East. In Saturday's loss to the Giants, Henderson Alvarez lasted only 2 2/3 innings and allowed two runs -- one earned -- for the loss.

Alvarez departed early after taking a comebacker to the shin and hopes to make his next scheduled start. X-rays were negative and he will test the leg in a few days.

"He seems like he's going to be fine," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We'll see as we go the next few days' progress and he goes out there on his bullpen day and see how he feels."

Giancarlo Stanton homered for the second straight game following a 15-game homerless drought.

"That's good, back-to-back homers. Hopefully that gets him going," Redmond said. "We definitely need him. He's the guy, the catalyst for our offense."

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich finished with two hits apiece for the Marlins. Yelich is riding a 12-game hitting streak and has hit safely in 14 of the past 15 games.

Miami will hit the road next for seven games in Atlanta and Houston.

Brad Hand was forced to leave early in his most recent start and gets the nod for the Marlins Sunday. Hand lasted four innings in a 9-1 road loss to the New York Mets last Sunday and departed after suffering a bruised right shin.

Hand gave up three runs in four innings and is 0-2 with a 5.26 earned run average in 19 games (5 starts). The left-hander has made two relief appearances in his career against the Giants.

Miami is only 1-9 in Hand's last 10 appearances.

The Marlins and Giants split a four-game set back in May at AT&T Park.