The San Francisco Giants matched a franchise worst with six home runs allowed while giving up a season-high 13 runs in their series opener at Arizona.
But even the Diamondbacks know a repeat performance Thursday night would be far-fetched, because unbeaten ace Tim Lincecum(notes) will be on the mound attempting to steady the Giants and notch his sixth win.
San Francisco arrived in Phoenix with a 3.01 ERA that ranked fourth in the majors, but the Diamondbacks (17-24) homered early and often in their 13-1 victory Wednesday night, including Kelly Johnson’s(notes) NL-leading 12th and two from Adam LaRoche(notes).
The six home runs allowed by the Giants (22-17) were twice as many as Lincecum has given up in eight starts. The two-time reigning NL Cy Young winner has not allowed a homer in nine career outings against Arizona, going 5-1 with a 1.87 ERA and racking up 82 strikeouts in 67 1-3 innings.
Lincecum (5-0, 1.76) is again pitching like one of the league’s best, and even a season-high five walks couldn’t stop him from dominating Houston on Saturday, when he gave up one run and four hits in eight innings of a 2-1 win.
“I didn’t feel like I had a good rhythm,” Lincecum told the Giants’ official website. “I was fighting myself with some mechanics. It turned out all right, though.”
“I was able to make enough good pitches,” Lopez said. “I made some adjustments and kept the ball down.”
Arizona relievers have a 7.90 ERA, nearly two runs worse than any other club - a big reason the team is in last place in the NL West.
The Giants are in second place, 1 1/2 games behind San Diego, but they may need to improve their offense in order to win the division. They’ve been held to two or fewer runs six times in their last nine games.
The Diamondbacks, though, were held to three or fewer runs six straight times during a seven-game losing streak earlier this month, and they had two hits in an 8-0 loss to Florida on Tuesday.
“We’ve shown that we can be an explosive offense,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “It’s can we be a consistent offense?”