(Sports Network) - Giants starter Tim Lincecum has lost three straight starts for the first time in his young career. Who would have thought that a matchup with the Cardinals might be exactly what the two-time defending National League Cy Young Award winner needs?
Lincecum tries for his sixth victory in as many starts versus St. Louis, which will try to snap its longest losing streak of the season when it again plays host to San Francisco for the second battle of a three-game series at Busch Stadium.
The right-handed Lincecum is pitching to a 9.00 earned run average over his skid. He seemed to have put some troubles behind him on Sunday versus the Padres, recording three strikeouts in the first inning, but ended up allowing six runs -- five earned -- over just 3 2/3 innings of work.
"You get frustrated when things don't go your way, or the way they have been," Lincecum, who is 11-7 with a 3.62 ERA this year, told the Giants' website. "You've just got to keep coming to the field every day and working with a purpose and knowing that it's going to come back, and that's pretty much what I'm trying to get to."
His stuff could very well return tonight given his 5-0 record and 1.54 career ERA versus the Cardinals. The 26-year-old picked up one of those wins on April 23, holding St. Louis to a run over seven innings while striking out eight.
Though Matt Holliday (10-for-32), Albert Pujols (4-for-11) and Yadier Molina (4-for-12) are all hitting .300 or better versus Lincecum, none of them have taken the lanky hurler deep.
Pujols hit his National League-leading 32nd homer, and fourth in six games, in Friday's opener, but the Cardinals still fell, 6-3, to fall three games off the NL Wild Card pace and 4 1/2 contests back of first-place Cincinnati in the NL Central.
One start after picking up his first victory in a Cardinals uniform, Jake Westbrook suffered his first setback with the club after allowing three runs over six innings.
"It didn't go well. I need to do a better job of going out and putting up zeroes early on," Westbrook said.
Aubrey Huff had a pair of hits, one a two-run homer, and walked twice, while Pablo Sandoval added his second solo homer in as many days for the Giants, winners of two in a row following losses in four of five games. San Francisco remained a game back of Philadelphia for the wild card spot and moved five behind first-place San Diego in the NL West.
Madison Bumgarner won for the first time in five starts, surrendering two runs on nine hits over seven-plus frames.
"I want to have that kind of intensity every game out," Bumgarner said. "I want to treat every game like a playoff game."
St. Louis' Chris Carpenter had a two-start and four-decision winning streak end on Saturday versus the Cubs as he looks to rebound tonight. The 35-year- old gave up three runs on six hits, two of those homers, over six frames in his shortest outing in seven starts.
Carpenter is 13-4 with a 2.95 ERA this season, including 9-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 15 starts at home. The righty is 3-1 with a 3.98 ERA in six career outings versus the Giants.
The Giants took two of three from the Cardinals at home from April 23-25 and split four games versus them in St. Louis a season ago.