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Barry Zito And The Giants Both Try To Avoid Losing Three Straight

(Sports Network) - A lack of offense has the Giants in danger of dropping three straight games for the first time in a month. Things might not get better with Barry Zito on the hill.

Zito will try to avoid a third straight losing decision tonight when San Francisco tries to even its four-game series with the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.

The Giants have scored just three runs in dropping back-to-back contests since a four-game winning streak. They have also been held to a pair of runs or fewer in four of their last five, including last night's 3-2 setback.

Tim Lincecum struck out seven batters over 6 1/3 innings, but allowed a two- run homer to Alex Gonzalez in the second inning and a solo shot to Eric Hinske in the seventh inning.

"You never want to go in and lose the first game in a series," said Lincecum. "We got a lot of big arms coming up in the next few games. I don't see why we can't beat these guys. We've been playing well as of late, without these last two games we're flying."

Andres Torres had three hits and knocked in a run for National League wild- card leading San Francisco, which is also just two games back of San Diego for first place in the NL West. The club will try to avoid its first three-game slide tonight since dropping seven straight from June 26-July 2, a season high.

Atlanta, meanwhile, maintained its two-game edge over Philadelphia for first place in the NL East by winning for the third time in four games and improving to 37-14 at home.

Jair Jurrjens yielded two runs over six innings for Atlanta, while Gonzalez hit his second homer as a Brave and 19th overall this year. Hinske's blast was his ninth of 2010 and came on his 33rd birthday.

"It's nice definitely to hit a home run on your birthday, but the win is more important," said Hinske. "We know we're in a pennant race. Every game is important. We're just trying to take care of ourselves and win today."

Zito will look to shut down the Braves tonight and improve on his lifetime 3-1 mark and 2.42 earned run average against them. However, the lefty is just 1-2 over his last four starts despite a 1.88 ERA, with the Giants scoring just six runs in that span.

Zito had dropped consecutive starts before getting a no-decision on Saturday versus the Giants. The 32-year-old gave up just one run on three hits over seven innings of his team's eventual 2-1 victory and is 8-6 with a 3.38 ERA this year.

Braves starter Tommy Hanson can relate. The second-year righty has lost consecutive starts despite allowing just five runs in that span, two of those earned. He lost a 2-1 decision on Monday in Cincinnati even though he allowed just two runs -- one earned -- over 7 1/3 innings, his longest start since May 10.

Hanson, who hasn't won since July 3 and is looking to snap a three-decision slide, is 8-8 with a 3.83 ERA on the year and he faced the Giants for the first and only time as a rookie last year. He picked up a victory, allowing three runs over seven innings with a still-career-high 11 strikeouts.

The Giants took two of three at home from the Braves in April and have won eight of the last 13 meetings, though they did lose three of four at Turner Field a season ago.

Atlanta will retire Tom Glavine's #47 jersey during a pre-game ceremony while also inducting the pitcher into its team Hall of Fame. Glavine will become the seventh player to have his number retired by the club, joining Hank Aaron (44), Eddie Mathews (41), Dale Murphy (3), Phil Niekro (35), Warren Spahn (21), and Greg Maddux (31).

Glavine was drafted by the Braves in 1984 and spent a total of 19 years with the club. He owns 305 career victories and is a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner. Glavine was also named MVP of the World Series after going 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in a championship victory over the Cleveland Indians and has a career mark of 244-147 with a 3.41 ERA in 518 starts with Atlanta.