Rockies-Giants Preview

The Associated Press

Despite coming up short in the finale, the San Francisco Giants proved plenty potent on their just-completed road trip.

That was hardly the case during their last homestand.

The Giants - losers of seven of eight in San Francisco - return home Friday night to open a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies, who try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat in this series after getting swept last weekend.

Having batted .321 and averaged 8.1 runs while taking five of seven on its trip, San Francisco (61-51) is hoping to see some of that success carry over at home. Before leaving town, the Giants dropped seven of eight on their own field while getting outscored 45-19 and batting .204.

"This was an important road trip," manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants' official website. "We bounced back after really struggling there at home. The guys showed a lot of character on this trip."

One day after cruising to a 15-0 win at St. Louis, though, San Francisco fell 3-1 in Thursday's series finale. The Giants went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position while Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera and Hunter Pence - the club's 1-3-5 hitters - combined to go 0 for 11.

"That's the beauty of this game," said infielder Marco Scutaro, who drove in San Francisco's only run after he had seven RBIs on Wednesday. "You can't predict what's going to happen tomorrow. You never know. That's the way it goes."

The Giants appear to have a good shot at bouncing back behind Tim Lincecum (6-11, 5.43 ERA), who after struggling for much of the season, seems to have found his groove. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA over his last five starts, yielding two runs or fewer in all but one of those outings.

"I think it's just the competitiveness," he said. "I don't think anything is different. I'm not throwing any harder, obviously. I'm not throwing any different kind of pitches. I think it's just the conviction on the pitches. Every pitch before you throw it is with a purpose."

Lincecum matched a season high with five walks but managed to limit the damage Sunday, scattering five hits over six innings of one-run ball in an 8-3 win at Coors Field. He improved to 6-3 with a 3.15 ERA over his last 11 starts versus Colorado.

After dropping all three matchups against the Giants by a 35-13 margin last weekend, the Rockies (40-69) opened a six-game trip with back-to-back wins over the Los Angeles Dodgers before falling 6-4 in Wednesday's series finale. Eric Young led off with an inside-the-park homer but Jeff Francis wasn't very sharp and lasted just four innings.

With manager Jim Tracy continuing to use a four-man rotation, Rockies starters are bring limited to around 75 pitches.

"It might not be what we're used to, but it's the situation we're in," Francis said. "We just keep pitching till they take the ball away."

Taking the mound for Colorado on Friday is Tyler Chatwood (1-2, 6.61), who had a rough time in his first start of the season Sunday opposite Lincecum. The right-hander gave up three runs - one earned - and four walks over 3 1-3 innings.

"When he was in the strike zone, he was effective," Tracy said. "His ball was live, he threw some good breaking balls. He wasn't in there consistently enough. He had very sporadic command. He used up a lot of pitches in a very short period of time."

Colorado has dropped 13 of 16 to San Francisco dating to last season, compiling a 6.17 ERA in those games.

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