Lincecum looks to bounce back from his worst start of the year and continue his dominance of the suddenly streaking Padres in the series finale Thursday night in San Diego, where the Giants are winless this year.
San Francisco (19-20) has totaled six hits in each of the first two games of this series, both 2-1 losses. The Giants were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday.
“I don’t have much to say,” said manager Bruce Bochy, who was ejected in the bottom of the eighth after arguing a call at first base. “Same game, very similar to (Tuesday) night. We’re just not getting that hit. We’re just real cold right now with the bats. … We found out one run is not going to work.”
While that type of offensive performance isn’t conducive to winning baseball, Lincecum (3-1, 3.75 ERA) is the type of pitcher that can make meager run totals stand up, especially against San Diego (18-22). The right-hander is 3-2 with a 1.45 ERA in nine career starts against the Padres, and the Giants have gone 7-2.
Adrian Gonzalez(notes)—the major league leader with 15 homers and San Diego’s leader in RBIs (29), runs scored (28) and hits (42) - is 5 for 27 (.185) with 12 strikeouts and no extra-base hits in his career against the reigning NL Cy Young winner.
Lincecum posted a 2.25 ERA during a streak of five consecutive quality starts before Friday, when he was reached for a season-high five runs and a season high-tying 10 hits in six innings of an 8-6 loss to the New York Mets.
He’ll try to bounce back against a San Diego team that’s matched a season high with five straight wins following a 4-19 stretch.
The Padres, who took all three games against Cincinnati over the weekend, are in position to record consecutive sweeps of at least three games for the first time since Sept. 14-20, 2007. After dropping seven of nine at home against the Giants last year, they’ve won the first five meetings at Petco Park in 2009.
Part of the reason behind San Diego’s recent success is Heath Bell(notes), who took over for longtime closer and career saves leader Trevor Hoffman(notes), now with Milwaukee. Bell opened the season by converting all 11 of his save chances with 17 scoreless innings. Texas’ Frank Francisco(notes) is the only other qualifying reliever in the majors with a 0.00 ERA.
Bell has struck out five while pitching 2 2-3 perfect innings in notching three saves against San Francisco, but he might not be available Thursday after pitching an inning in each of the last two games.
Correia, a right-hander originally from San Diego, went a season-high seven innings Friday, holding the Reds to three runs and five hits in a 5-3 win.