Tim Lincecum and David Price have combined for three of the last six Cy Young Awards and will square off Saturday in the second matchup of three between the San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays.
Lincecum took home the honor in 2008 and 2009, while Price captured the award last season. The two hurlers haven't pitched lights-out baseball this season, especially Lincecum, who has lost two straight starts and six of seven decisions. Lincecum is winless (0-2) since his no-hitter on July 13 and suffered a hard-luck loss Sunday in a 2-1 decision to the Chicago Cubs.
The right-hander allowed both runs in seven innings of work, struck out 10 batters and issued a pair of walks to fall to 5-11 in 21 starts to go along with a 4.61 earned run average. Lincecum has had trouble on the road as well, going 2-6 in 10 chances, and has never faced Tampa Bay.
Lincecum could run into trouble Saturday because the Rays are 44-19 when facing a former Cy Young winner since 2008.
Price has been simply dominant since his rugged 1-4 start, having won three straight trips to the hill and posting a 5-1 mark with a 1.68 ERA in his last six outings. Price has allowed just one run in each of his past two starts and has walked only one batter during his recent six-game tear.
He tossed 7 1/3 solid innings in a 2-1 win at Boston on Monday and went the distance in his previous appearance against the Red Sox. Price, who is 6-5 with a 3.57 ERA in 15 starts, is back at the Trop after three straight road assignments, but is only 1-4 in seven home starts.
Price will take on San Francisco for the first time.
Chris Archer discovered his first encounter with the Giants was a forgettable one, as he was dealt the loss in Friday's 4-1 setback in the series opener. Archer was victimized by a three-run seventh inning and allowed all four runs in seven innings total.
The AL wild card-leading Rays had won each of Archer's previous seven starts and lost for the third time in the past five tries.
"Our guys are playing as hard as they can," Archer said. "Some nights what we don't do on offense we make up for on defense. ... Sometimes it's not about scoring runs. It's about pitching and defense, and I failed to come up with my end tonight in the seventh inning."
Ben Zobrist had two hits and the lone RBI for Tampa Bay, which remained a game behind Boston for the AL East lead. The Red Sox were turned away by Arizona on Friday night.
Tampa Bay went 21-5 in July and is 10-3 in interleague play this season.
The defending World Series champion Giants posted their third straight win since losing five in a row and eight of nine games. Madison Bumgarner quieted the red-hot Rays by striking out 11 batters and permitting just a run in seven innings. Sergio Romo got the final two outs for his 26th save.
San Francisco's offense played a key role in that decisive seventh inning. Hunter Pence scored on Brandon Belt's triple with two away in the frame to snap a 1-1 tie and Brandon Crawford followed with a two-run homer.
Belt also homered in the fifth inning and drew praise from Bumgarner.
"He's been trying to make some adjustments and obviously it's paying off for him," Bumgarner said. "Hopefully he can start to become the player that he wants to be and everybody knows he can be."
This series marks the first time the Giants have visited Tampa Bay since they lost two of three to the then-Devil Rays back in 2004. The Giants are 4-3 all- time against the Rays.