Venue: Coors Field
Pounding on the Colorado Rockies woeful staff is giving the San Francisco Giants some much-needed momentum.
Another strong performance from Tim Lincecum may keep them rolling.
Lincecum will try to continue his improved stretch on the mound, as the Giants try to create some breathing room atop the NL West by sweeping this three-game set with the Rockies.
San Francisco (58-49) entered this series having dropped seven of eight, during which it hit .204 with one homer and 19 runs.
Facing Colorado (38-67), which has a 5.50 ERA overall and a 6.39 mark by its starters, seems to have snapped the Giants out of that funk. They have pounded out 27 runs and 33 hits - including five homers among 13 extra-base hits - in winning the first two games following Saturday's 11-6 victory.
"The guys answered back and did a good job the last couple of days," manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's an old adage: get on the road and maybe the guys will come together and play better and get some confidence going. That's happened here and this is a park where hitters can get their confidence back. It's good to see some guys enjoying some success."
San Francisco leads the West by one-half game over Los Angeles.
Lincecum (5-11, 5.62 ERA) gets the ball in an effort to pad that edge, and he's 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in his last four starts. That's a dramatic improvement from his 1-8 record and 6.69 ERA in his previous 13.
"I'm just trying to build that consistency," Lincecum said. "Just trying to gain momentum."
He'll now try to win back-to-back starts for the first time since late April after he turned in another strong effort in Tuesday's 4-1 victory over New York. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner yielded one run and six hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings.
"He pitched like the Timmy we know," Bochy said.
The right-hander hasn't resembled that over his last three starts against the Rockies, going 0-1 with a 7.80 ERA while the Giants lost all three. He was particularly bad at Coors Field on April 11, surrendering six runs and eight hits in 2 1-3 innings while not getting a decision in a 17-8 loss.
Lincecum may be in store for an ample amount of run support thanks in part to Buster Posey, who has a .379 average with three homers and 13 RBIs in 18 games in Denver.
The catcher has six hits in this series, including a homer and three RBIs in each of the first two contests. That's continued over his overall surge, which includes a .464 average, five homer and 23 RBIs in 17 contests.
The Rockies haven't named a starter to try and stop Posey and the Giants after scheduled starter Christian Friedrich was lost for the season Saturday due to a stress fracture in his lower back. The rookie was 5-8 with a 6.17 ERA in 16 starts.
Tyler Chatwood (1-1, 7.62) may get the nod, but Colorado has to recall him from Double-A Tulsa. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 4.70 ERA in 13 starts in the minors this year, and has made all seven of his appearances for the Rockies out of the bullpen.
Chatwood was a regular member of the Los Angeles Angels' rotation in 2011, going 6-11 with a 4.75 ERA before being acquired for catcher Chris Iannetta in November.
Colorado has dropped 15 of 19, with its starters posting 8.20 ERA in that span.
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