Lincecum tries to pitch Giants back on track vs. Cards
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Francisco Giants held a 9 1/2-game lead atop the National League West after play ended on June 8.
Just over three weeks later, as we turn the calendar to July, they currently sit a half-game back in the division.
The free-falling Giants hope Tim Lincecum can help them snap a four-game losing streak on Tuesday when they play the first of three games against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park.
Lincecum joined Christy Mathewson last Wednesday as the only two Giants pitchers to throw two no-hitters, as he held the Padres hitless for the second time. He also became just the fourth player with at least two no-hitters and two Cy Young Awards, joining Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay.
Of course, Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer is the only pitcher to throw no- hitters in consecutive starts back in 1938.
"Just to be in that company allows me a chance to pat myself on the back a little bit," said Lincecum, who is 6-5 on the year with a 4.42 ERA.
Now he'll try to help a San Francisco team that has only won four times in its last 19 tries to fall behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Giants haven't won since that no-no and were nearly no-hit themselves on Sunday in a 4-0 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
The Giants managed just three hits in that one and are hitting a mere .181 over their last seven games.
"We've had a little bit of bad luck," Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "I think that will change sometime soon."
It could come on Tuesday, as Lincecum is 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals.
St. Louis, meanwhile, will be facing a pitcher who has thrown a no-hitter this season for the third time in its last five games. The Cardinals did not fare well against the other two this weekend, losing to both Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw, and have lost four of the last six overall.
"It's tough to put that on our pitching staff, but when you face a couple guys throwing the ball like these guys are, that's what we need," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Getting the call for the Cards on Tuesday will be 22-year-old lefty Marco Gonzalez, who will be making the second start of his career. Gonzalez was roughed up a bit in his debut on Wednesday in Colorado, as the Rockies reached him for five runs and seven hits in five innings. Gonzalez, though, escaped with a no-decision in his team's 9-6 win.
"I don't think we could have constructed a tougher test, all things considered," Matheny said. "We didn't necessarily label it that to him or any of you as he came into it, but we were all very aware of the challenges that came into it ... I like how he handled everything."
San Francisco has won three of its four matchups with the Cardinals this season.
07/01 10:38:47 ET