Giants-Cubs Preview

The Associated Press

Although it's been a difficult season for Tim Lincecum, he's pitched well lately on the road and has always fared well at Wrigley Field.

He'll try to help the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants avoid dropping a road series for the first time in nearly two months Saturday when he faces the Chicago Cubs.

Lincecum (7-14, 5.30 ERA) has matched his career-high loss total from last season after allowing three runs over five innings Sunday in a 7-1 home defeat to Atlanta.

Still, the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner finished with a 3.90 ERA in August after it had been above five in every other month. Lincecum is also 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his three road starts since the All-Star break, although his 6.99 ERA away from home on the season is still among baseball's worst marks.

The right-hander has dropped his last three decisions against the Cubs (51-80), but all those outings came at home. He's 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in four career starts at Wrigley, recording his third-lowest ERA at any ballpark.

Lincecum is 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA in eight day starts.

It appears Hector Sanchez will be behind the plate for the Giants for the fifth time in Lincecum's last six starts. Manager Bruce Bochy has indicated he will start Buster Posey at first base Saturday to limit the All-Star catcher's discomfort in his left ankle.

Posey went 3 for 3 with two RBIs as San Francisco (74-58) had its season-high six-game road win streak end Friday with a 6-4 loss. The Giants' major league-best road record since the All-Star break fell to 17-6, and they haven't dropped a series away from home since losing two of three in Pittsburgh from July 6-8.

Former Cubs infielder Ryan Theriot had two hits, and is batting .362 - his highest average against any NL foe - in 17 games versus his first big-league club.

"You always enjoy coming back to your first club for sure," Theriot said.

The Giants will be re-acquainted with Cubs starter Justin Germano (2-4, 5.91), who owns a 1.83 ERA against them for his lowest ERA against any team he has faced as a starter. Those four appearances including three starts versus San Francisco came when Germano was with San Diego from 2007-08.

The journeyman right-hander has allowed 12 runs over 9 2-3 innings in consecutive losses to Milwaukee, giving up five in five-plus frames of Monday's 15-4 loss.

The Cubs are seeking their first three-game winning streak since July 28-30. Alfonso Soriano, who turned down a trade to San Francisco earlier this season, and Anthony Rizzo homered Friday as Chicago closed August with an 8-21 mark as it tries to avoid its first 100-loss campaign since 1966.

"I think the magic number's down to 12 wins now," Rizzo said. "I was talking about it today. We're not going to lose 100 games."

The Giants plan to activate a number of players Saturday, with Aubrey Huff (knee injury) available for the first time since July 30.

Outfielders Dave Sappelt and Tony Campana and infielder Adrian Cardenas are among the Cubs' likely additions Saturday.

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