If the weather cooperates, fans at Wrigley Field could be in for a great pitching matchup Sunday.
Tim Lincecum(notes) brings in a 17-inning scoreless streak for the San Francisco Giants while the Chicago Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano(notes) goes for his 13th win in 14 decisions as the teams close a three-game set.
Playing the first Saturday night game on Chicago’s North Side in nearly a decade, the Giants evened the series with a rain-shortened 3-0 win after six innings.
San Francisco, which scored twice on throwing errors, has won nine of its last 11. The Giants (22-17) were third in the NL West and five games behind Colorado on May 2, but now hold a one-game lead over the second-place Rockies.
Rain is in the Chicago forecast again Sunday with temperatures dropping into the 40s and winds around 25 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
Those raw conditions could test Lincecum (3-3, 2.11 ERA) and his streak.
After finishing his April 29 outing with two scoreless frames in a loss to Washington, the right-hander threw a season-high 127 pitches while holding the Mets to five hits and three walks over seven innings of San Francisco’s 2-0 victory on May 4.
Lincecum then carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Arizona on Tuesday. He left after giving up four hits and two walks through eight, and the Giants won 1-0 on Cody Ross’(notes) walk-off single in the ninth.
San Francisco has given Lincecum three total runs of support during his last four starts.
“He goes out there and pitches these gems and we don’t seem to score for him,” Ross told the Giants’ official website.
The Giants have given Lincecum a total of two runs in his last two starts against the Cubs (17-21), both losses in San Francisco. They’ve supported him with 10 runs in his last two starts at Wrigley Field in 2008 and 2009, resulting in two victories for the two-time NL Cy Young winner.
Lincecum gave up a season-high-tying six runs and eight hits in four innings in his last start against the Cubs, an 8-6 home loss Aug. 10.
Zambrano (4-1, 4.35) wasn’t much better one day earlier. Making his first start in six weeks following a team suspension for a dugout blowup, the right-hander tied a career high with seven walks in five innings of the Cubs’ 4-3, 11-inning loss Aug. 9.
Since then, he’s posted a remarkable 12-1 record with a 2.62 ERA in 18 starts. However, he’s 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four home starts this year.
He didn’t get a decision there Tuesday after yielding four runs and eight hits over seven innings of a 6-4 loss to rival St. Louis.
“My job is to pitch and control what I do on the mound,” said Zambrano, who’s 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA in 10 career starts against the Giants. His last win was a two-hitter with eight strikeouts in a 3-0 victory in San Francisco on Sept. 25, 2009.
Zambrano pitched six shutout innings despite five walks the last time he faced the Giants, although the Cubs lost 1-0 at Wrigley on Sept. 21.
Chicago’s Marlon Byrd(notes) looks to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games as he prepares to face Lincecum for the first time. Byrd went 1 for 3 Saturday, and is batting .362 (21 for 58) during his run.