Earlier this month, the Giants rewarded Madison Bumgarner with a contract extension that made him a long-term piece to the club's rotation.
Bumgarner is sure pitching like a valuable left-hander and goes after a fourth straight winning start this afternoon in the final contest of three straight games against the San Diego Padres.
The 28-year-old, who signed a five-year extension on April 16, has won all three of his outings since opening the season with a loss to the Diamondbacks on April 7. He hasn't allowed more than two runs in any game of his win streak, beating the Mets on Monday with seven innings of one-run ball to finish off doubleheader sweep.
Bumgarner scattered three hits and two walks over his outing, retiring nine of the final 10 batters faced to lower his season earned run average to 2.96.
He has a lifetime ERA of 3.22 in eight career games (7) starts versus the Padres, but has only produced a 1-2 record.
The Padres turn to their own southpaw in Clayton Richard, who has lost consecutive starts but did improve considerably last time out.
The 28-year-old was touched for eight runs on 10 hits over 5 1/3 innings of a loss in Colorado on April 18, then dropped a 3-1 decision to the Nationals on Tuesday. Richard gave up four hits and five walks, but limited the damage to two runs while striking out six and retiring 11 straight at one point.
"I think we made some adjustments that needed to be made," Richard told his team's website. "When you're on the side of the ball, bad things happen."
Richard has made eight career starts versus the Giants, going 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA.
Saturday's contest morphed into a pitcher's duel, with Giants starter Tim Lincecum earning the 2-1 win after allowing just one unearned run over eight innings of work. He allowed just three infield singles and issued four walks and the only run he gave up came on Nick Hundley's sacrifice fly in the third inning two batters after an error.
"I was just able to get outs and get out of some tough situations," said Lincecum. "I'm not happy with the walks, but I feel like I'm getting better with each start."
Lincecum also broke up Antony Bass' perfect game in the sixth inning, hitting an infield single off the Padres starter after Bass had retired the first 17 batters faced.
"He pitched his tail off and it was a great game," said San Diego manager Bud Black about Bass. "He pitched an outstanding game against a guy who was pitching well on the other side. It was a great pitching duel."
Brandon Belt later plated both of San Francisco's runs with a double in the seventh inning. The Giants had lost three of four, including a 5-3 setback in Friday's opener.
San Diego had a two-game winning streak snapped.
The Giants' Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-4 to snap his season-opening hitting streak at 20 straight games, a new Giants' franchise record.
The Giants won 12 of 18 versus the Padres last season.