Lincecum (2-2, 2.70 ERA) allowed five earned runs in his first four starts, but matched that total and walked six in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-2 home loss to Atlanta on Saturday. It was the most earned runs the two-time Cy Young Award winner has given up since he allowed as many Aug. 15 against San Diego during a career-worst, five-start losing streak.
“You can’t accept pretty good results when you walk six guys,” Lincecum said. “It’s almost like a guy’s on every inning. Obviously you’re not helping yourself or your team with a back-against-the-wall kind of situation.”
The right-hander has walked six, allowed two earned runs, 11 hits and struck out 28 in 21 2-3 innings while going 2-1 on the road this season. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his last road start, an 8-1 victory at Colorado on April 18.
Lincecum, 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two starts at Washington, needs one more double-digit strikeout game to surpass Christy Mathewson for the most in franchise history with 29. However, the Nationals’ 169 strikeouts are among the fewest in the NL.
The Giants (12-12) have won eight of 10 at Washington and should have more confidence after opening their 10-game trip by taking two of three at Pittsburgh. Aaron Rowand(notes) had three RBIs and stole home as part of a double steal in Thursday’s 5-2 win.
“When you’re not swinging the bat, you try to think of ways you can create runs,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, whose team has averaged 2.7 runs while losing five of seven.
Rowand is a lifetime .327 hitter versus Washington, but is 2 for 20 against scheduled starter Jason Marquis(notes). Teammate Pablo Sandoval(notes) is 4 for 11 with two homers against Marquis, and 6 for 15 his last four games overall.
Marquis (2-0, 3.55) will try to win his third straight start for the Nationals (11-13) while facing the Giants for the first time since 2009 while with Colorado. He’s pitched well against San Francisco, going 4-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 10 starts.
The right-hander has not allowed more than three runs in any of his four starts, and yielded that many in six innings of a 6-3 win at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
“Jason really competes,” manager Jim Riggleman told the Nationals’ official website. “It’s good to see him out there competing.”
Ian Desmond(notes) homered and Jayson Werth(notes) drove in a run as Washington snapped a three-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over New York on Thursday. Desmond also had a triple in his first game back after missing the previous two to be with his wife, who gave birth to their first son.
“Watching the games the last two days, it seemed like the team needed a little spark,” Desmond said.
Werth, 6 for 15 the last four games, is 3 for 9 with a homer versus Lincecum.