Brandon Crawford’s offensive improvement coincides with the San Francisco Giants’ turnaround.
The shortstop has been particularly effective at home.
Crawford and the Giants go for a sixth straight home win in Sunday’s series finale with the Los Angeles Angels.
San Francisco (11-13) has won eight of 12 with 3.5 runs per game and a .276 batting average after averaging 1.9 runs while hitting .189 during an eight-game losing streak.
Crawford is batting .333 in the last 12 and is 8 for 22 (.364) with two homers while the Giants have gone 6-1 at home over that stretch. He hit a solo homer for one of his two hits as the Giants won their fifth in a row in San Francisco with Saturday’s 5-4 victory.
Crawford, though, is still struggling to solve right-handers, hitting .204 in 54 at-bats compared to going 7 for 21 versus lefties.
"I wish I knew what it was; I’d try it against right-handers," Crawford said. "It’s a lot of work against left-handers in batting practice and focusing on staying up the middle."
Crawford is facing a right-hander in Jered Weaver (0-3, 5.83 ERA). Weaver, though, is trying to end his worst start to a season and avoid matching his longest single-season win drought. He went six straight games without a victory in 2010 and ’11.
Weaver was hammered for five runs – three on a homer – in the opening inning Tuesday, gave up a solo shot in the sixth and left after the seventh of a 6-2 loss at Oakland.
"If he was throwing the ball as well as he could and hitting spots and had everything going, and was getting hit, we’d be a little more concerned," manager Mike Scioscia told MLB’s official website. "But you can still see the upside with Jered. This guy just knows his way through a game. He knows what he’s doing. He will figure this out.
"His stuff is not that far away from when he won 20 games."
Weaver tossed six scoreless innings while winning his only career meeting with the Giants in 2012, and this will be his first outing at San Francisco. The veteran is 8-1 with a 1.93 ERA in 15 games at NL parks – the lowest ERA among 59 pitchers who have made as least 15 interleague road starts.
Los Angeles (11-13) had won five of seven prior to this series and is trying to avoid being swept for the first time since April 10-12 to Kansas City.
Mike Trout is 7 for 14 with two homers, three doubles, four RBIs and six runs in the last four. He had a solo shot Saturday, while Albert Pujols had one of his own after missing two games with a hamstring injury.
"It’s my job to be out there as much as possible but you don’t want to do something stupid," said Pujols, who has homered in the same game as Trout 18 times, ranking only one behind Baltimore’s Chris Davis and Adam Jones for the most by teammates in the majors since 2012.
The Giants are turning to Tim Lincecum (1-2, 3.27), who is trying to rebound from his shortest outing of the season. All four runs the right-hander allowed came in the third inning Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers and he was pulled after the fourth in an 8-3 road loss.
"I was missing over the middle of the plate too much. And regardless of the ball being down or up, I’m missing on the sides of the plate that I shouldn’t be missing on," said Lincecum, who allowed eight hits and three walks.
Lincecum lost his only meeting with the Angels in 2009.