The San Francisco Giants are counting on the future of their franchise to end their longest drought of this season.
The Giants (30-39) lost 5-4 in Monday’s series opener and have dropped 17 of their last 23 games. They have been outscored 32-15 during their current slide.
“It’s hard to explain what’s going on,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “At this point, we’ll take anything - a blooper, anything to get us over the hump.”
Lincecum (2-1, 5.25 ERA) started the first game of the losing streak and was charged with his first major league loss in the shortest outing of his young career, a 7-4 defeat against Toronto. He allowed a career-worst seven runs in just 3 2-3 innings.
“I was pretty frustrated and showing it, and that’s not something I should be doing,” Lincecum said. “I’ll talk to some guys and get my head back in it. I always thought that was my best asset. My dad said, ‘Don’t ever show emotion,’ and I did today.”
Lincecum is perhaps the Giants’ most promising pitching prospect, and his teammates have taken to calling the team’s first pick in the 2006 draft “Franchise.” However, San Francisco has lost in his last four starts and he has allowed 16 runs in 14 2-3 innings in his last three.
Still, the Giants are hoping he’ll be as effective as Brewers prospect Yovani Gallardo, who held them to three runs in 6 1-3 innings in his major league debut on Monday. Pedro Feliz and Ray Durham each homered for San Francisco, while slugger Barry Bonds went 1-for-2 with a double and two walks to remain seven homers shy of Hank Aaron’s all-time record of 755.
The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but were unable to end their slump.
“We just couldn’t pull it out,” first baseman Ryan Klesko said. “That’s the way it’s kind of been going this last month, I guess.”
Things don’t get any easier Tuesday for the Giants, who draw Milwaukee ace Ben Sheets (7-3, 3.31). The right-hander has not allowed more than three runs in any of his last 11 starts and two or fewer in seven of those outings.
He ended a 22 2-3-inning scoreless streak in Thursday’s 6-5 win in Detroit, but struck out seven batters to finish the day with 1,003 for his career.
“It’s not really that high compared to what others have,” said Sheets, who allowed three runs in 5 2-3 innings - his shortest outing since lasting just three innings because of a groin strain April 23 against the Chicago Cubs.
Sheets is 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA in five career starts against the Giants and has won his last two.
Prince Fielder hit his NL-leading 26th homer Monday for the Brewers (39-31), who have won five of six and own the best home record in the league.