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Giants rely on Lincecum at Wrigley

Sep 1, 2012 - 1:23 PM (Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants would probably feel more confident in a potential playoff run if Tim Lincecum could find some consistency.

The former Cy Young Award winner looks to avoid a fourth loss in five starts on Saturday afternoon in the middle contest of a three-game series versus the Chicago Cubs.

It is safe to say it is a bit surprising that the Giants lead the NL West given that Lincecum is a mere 7-14 in 27 starts on the year with a 5.30 earned run average. That includes a 4-6 mark and 6.99 ERA in 13 road outings.

The righty is making small steps, having allowed more than three earned runs in just two of his last nine outings. That wasn't enough to beat the Atlanta Braves on Sunday as he suffered a 7-1 defeat after yielding three runs on five hits and two walks over five frames.

"My rhythm was just off in the first inning. I kind of got it back the next four innings but that was it. I was just getting behind batters 2-0 on pretty much everybody." Lincecum said.

Lincecum will try to even this series against the Cubs and even his career mark against the franchise, currently holding a record of 3-4 with a 3.49 ERA against it in nine starts.

Coming off a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros, the Giants dropped Friday's opener by a 6-4 margin. Chicago's Alfonso Soriano drove in three runs to support starter Chris Volstad to his second straight win.

Volstad snapped a 24-start winless drought last Sunday and won again with 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball in the opener.

"Since he's been back, he's done a pretty good job," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said about Volstad. "There haven't been no big blowups. He's been pitching fairly deep into the games and shutting guys down pretty good."

Chicago won two straight for the first time since a three-game winning streak from July 28-30 and avoided a sixth straight setback to San Francisco. That losing streak included a four-game sweep by the Giants at home from June 1-4.

Buster Posey had three hits and drove in two runs, but starter Madison Bumgarner lasted only four frames and yielded five runs, all but one unearned.

"(Bumgarner) was a little bit off today," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, whose club remained 4 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division race.

Bochy will bank on his offense not being off against Cubs starter Justin Germano, who takes the hill today following consecutive losses to the Milwaukee Brewers. The righty yielded 12 runs and 18 hits over 9 2/3 frames over that time.

Germano, 30, is 2-4 with a 5.91 ERA in seven games (6 starts) since joining the Cubs and holds a solid 1.83 ERA in four career meetings with the Giants -- all but one of those starts -- without a decision.

    CHICAGO: 2

    Sep 1 4:16 PM
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    Giants 5, Cubs 2  Bot 7, 1 OutSep 1 3:28 PM

  • David DeJesus one-out, two-run Home Run (7) to right scored Darwin Barney. Luis Valbuena due up.

    Giants 5, Cubs 2  Bot 3, 1 OutSep 1 2:11 PM
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  • Pablo Sandoval grounded out first to pitcher to end the inning.

    Giants 5, Cubs 0  Mid 2Sep 1 1:43 PM
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  • Brandon Crawford flied out to left to end the inning.

    Giants 4, Cubs 0  Mid 1Sep 1 1:24 PM

  • Hector Sanchez hit-by-pitch Pablo Sandoval scored on the play with two outs. Bases loaded and Xavier Nady due up.

    Giants 1, Cubs 0  Top 1, 2 OutsSep 1 1:22 PM

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    Giants vs. CubsDec 20 6:02 AM