San Francisco's offense has come alive during the club's bid to keep its postseason chances alive. However, a meeting with Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw could silence the defending champions' bats in a hurry.
Tim Lincecum and the Giants hope to solve the Cy Young Award candidate this evening and prevent him from becoming the league's second 20-game winner in the opener of a three-game series against the Dodgers.
Kershaw is in the midst of the best season of his career, going 19-5 with a 2.30 earned run average over 31 starts. That includes a 4-0 record and 1.04 ERA in five starts against the Giants this year, with three wins over Lincecum.
The two squared off for the third time back on Sept. 9, with the 23-year-old Kershaw allowing just one unearned run over eight innings to get the win. Lincecum, meanwhile, did not get a decision despite giving up one run over eight frames of the 2-1 loss.
"Two dominating pitchers," Los Angeles' Matt Kemp said of the matchup. "Both had great stuff. Lincecum's won two Cy Youngs. Kershaw, I feel like he should be this year's Cy Young [winner]."
Kershaw continued his bid for the award on Wednesday, picking up his career- high 19th victory even though he was ejected in the sixth inning after hitting Arizona slugger Gerardo Parra with a pitch. Parra had admired a homer he hit the previous day and Kershaw was one of the Dodgers yelling at him from the dugout. That led to the quick toss from home plate umpire Bill Welke.
"I'm not disappointed at all," Kershaw said. "We got a win and our bullpen picked me up. I didn't mean to hit him. I didn't talk to Bill at all. I wanted to plead my case. We have to be allowed to throw the ball inside."
The left-hander won his sixth straight decision and has a 0.71 ERA over his past seven starts, giving up four earned runs over 51 innings while striking out 52. He is also 11-1 with a 1.72 ERA in 15 starts at home, winning his past 10 decisions at Dodgers Stadium since a loss there on April 16.
Lincecum, who is 5-3 with a 2.87 ERA in his career versus LA, found the win column on Wednesday following his outing against the Dodgers as he held the Padres to an unearned run in the first inning of a 3-1 triumph. He lasted seven frames and moved to 13-12 this year with a 2.59 ERA.
"We made a mistake in the first inning and they got a two-out hit, but [Lincecum] had great stuff," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "He could have gone a little further, but we've been working him pretty hard."
The righty still topped 200 innings for the fourth straight season, the sixth player in club history to do so, and improved to 12-2 this year when getting two or more runs of support.
Run support hopefully won't be an issue tonight for the 27-year-old after the Giants slugged a season-high six homers in a 12-5 victory over the Rockies to finish off a four-game sweep and run their winning streak to a season long eight straight games.
Pablo Sandoval homered twice during an eight-run fourth inning, while Mike Fontenot and pitcher Matt Cain added two-run homers in the game. Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford both clubbed a solo shot for the Giants, who trail the Diamondbacks by 5 1/2 games for first place in the NL West.
San Francisco, which is also 3 1/2 games behind wild card-leading Atlanta, visits Arizona this weekend to finish off a 10-game road trip.
"It was a great series for the offense," said manager Bruce Bochy after the Giants plated 35 runs over the sweep.
Brian Wilson pitched a perfect eighth inning after being activated from the disabled list on Sunday. He was making his first appearance since Aug. 15 because of right elbow inflammation and is expected to return to the closer role tonight.
The Dodgers also put on an offensive showcase on Sunday, routing the Pirates, 15-1, to win the final three contests of a four-game series. James Loney posted his first career five-hit game, while Kemp and Jerry Sands both homered.
LA led 11-0 after the third inning.
The Giants have won seven of their past 10 games with the Dodgers.