After a rough start last time out, Tim Lincecum showed vintage form and once again flashed encouraging signs he is ready to break out of a season-long slump.
If he can do that today, he can hurl San Francisco into a first-place tie in the National League West.
Lincecum and the Giants take aim at a big three-game sweep of the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon.
The right-handed Lincecum hasn't won since April 28, going 0-6 in 10 starts since. That run also included nine straight losses for the Giants with the former Cy Young winner on the mound, but that skid came to an end on Friday in Oakland. Though Lincecum got a no-decision, the Giants knocked off the A's 5-4.
The 28-year-old was roughed up for three runs and all three of his hits allowed in a 43-pitch first inning, but retired 18 of his final 20 batters faced over the six-inning start without allowing a hit.
Still, Lincecum is 2-8 with a 6.07 earned run average in 15 starts this year and that includes a loss at Los Angeles on May 9. He yielded four runs over five innings and struck out eight.
He is 5-5 with a 3.07 ERA lifetime versus the Dodgers.
Lincecum will look to extend a solid run of starting pitching that has seen the Giants shut out the Dodgers over the first two games of this series. Barry Zito hurled seven scoreless frames in Monday's 8-0 win before Ryan Vogelsong followed up with seven shutout innings of his own in last night's 2-0 triumph.
Vogelsong scattered seven hits and walked one as the Giants won for the fourth time in five games and pulled to within a game of the Dodgers for first place in the NL West.
"Pitching has been right on in this series," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Vogy (Vogelsong) is pretty amazing, what he has done and how consistent he's been ... He knows what he's doing."
Melky Cabrera smacked a solo homer as part of a two-run fourth inning for the Giants, who have registered back-to-back home shutouts against the Dodgers for the first time since 1987.
A winner in each of his past four starts at AT&T Park, Clayton Kershaw was charged with two runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings for Los Angeles, which has dropped three straight and seven of its last eight contests.
"It's just a matter of us staying the course," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of his team's struggles. "It's my job as a manager that we don't panic."
Mattingly will go with Chad Billingsley for today's finale and the right- hander has lost two straight starts. That includes Friday's outing at the Angels as he gave up season highs of six runs and 10 hits while pitching five innings.
Billingsley had won two straight starts prior to the consecutive losses, allowing two runs over a combined 14 frames in that time. However, the right- hander now sits at 4-6 on the season with a 4.15 ERA in 15 starts.
The 27-year-old did not factor into a May 9 start versus the Giants, yielding two runs while lasting only four innings. In 10 starts at AT&T Park, Billingsley is 1-3 with a 3.19 ERA.
The Dodgers have won seven of their past 12 versus the Giants, taking two of three at home over San Francisco from May 7-9.