Giants-Dodgers Preview

The Associated Press

The San Francisco Giants have dealt with their share of adversity lately, though it hasn't prevented them from battling with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL West lead.

Neither have the seemingly constant struggles of Tim Lincecum.

The right-hander looks to help San Francisco extend its division lead over Los Angeles by earning his first victory at Chavez Ravine in five starts when the rivals continue their series Tuesday night.

San Francisco (67-55) reclaimed its position atop the West with a 2-1 victory Monday, moving one-half game ahead of the Dodgers (67-56). Pablo Sandoval drove in both runs for the Giants, who are 3-2 since losing NL hits leader Melky Cabrera to a 50-game suspension.

Lincecum (6-13, 5.45 ERA), though, has dropped consecutive starts after another short outing, allowing four runs in four innings of Wednesday's 6-4 loss to Washington, marking his sixth start of less than five full innings. He had six such outings spanning 66 starts over the 2010 and 2011 seasons combined.

"I just know that I have to go back out there in five more games and then go to work again," Lincecum told the team's official website. "It's easy to put this behind me when I know that it's just going to motivate me to work hard."

The right-hander had one of his better outings of the season when he allowed four hits in seven innings of a 3-0 win over the Dodgers on June 27 to end a six-start winless streak versus the division rival.

Lincecum, though, is 0-3 with a 4.18 ERA over his last four starts at Chavez Ravine after giving up four runs in five innings of 6-2 loss May 9. He'll look to end that winless streak Tuesday against a Los Angeles team once again looking to reclaim the division lead.

The Dodgers mustered only a ninth-inning homer from Hanley Ramirez in Monday's loss, ending a three-game winning streak against the Giants.

''Anytime you play the Giants, obviously it's a big game, especially right now when we're right in the middle of a pennant race,'' said Clayton Kershaw, who suffered the loss despite allowing two runs and striking out 10 in eight innings. ''But losing (stinks) no matter what. And tonight didn't feel any better, that's for sure.''

Los Angeles will look to bounce back with the help of Joe Blanton, who is still seeking his first victory in a Dodgers uniform.

Blanton (8-11, 4.96) dropped to 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA in three starts since being acquired from Philadelphia on Aug. 4, giving up a season-worst eight runs in 4 1-3 innings of Thursday's 10-6 loss to Pittsburgh. He was then ejected while arguing with the home plate umpire as he walked off the field after being pulled.

The right-hander is winless in two starts versus the Giants this season and is 1-4 with a 5.58 ERA in his last seven outings against San Francisco.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he likely won't have Buster Posey catch Tuesday, possibly placing him at first base or in the outfield. It's also possible Posey, who has caught only two of Lincecum's last 11 starts, receives the day off.

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