Giants-Mariners Preview

San Francisco Giants starter Tim Lincecum is trying to snap out

of the worst funk of his career.

Perhaps making his first major league start in his home state

will help the two-time NL Cy Young award winner get back on

track.

Lincecum goes for his first victory in nine starts Saturday

night at Safeco Field, where he’ll face the Seattle Mariners for

the first time.

Since defeating San Diego on April 28 for his second consecutive

victory, Lincecum (2-7, 6.00 ERA) has gone 0-5 with a 6.15 ERA in

eight outings – all losses for the Giants (37-28).

San Francisco has won 25 of its last 32 games started by anyone

other than Lincecum.

“We keep saying he’s close, and I still believe that,” manager

Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official website after Lincecum

surrendered five runs, a season-high nine hits and four walks

Sunday in a 5-0 loss to Texas.

A day after turning 28, Lincecum should have plenty of support

at Safeco Field as he tries to end the longest win drought of his

career. The right-hander was born in suburban Bellevue, Wash., went

to high school in Renton and starred at the University of

Washington before being drafted 10th overall by the Giants in

2006.

The Mariners passed on him at No. 5, choosing Brandon Morrow

instead, but Lincecum has said he doesn’t carry any hard

feelings.

“I’m excited for it, a little nervous. It’s that good

excitement, good nervousness. We’ll see what happens. It’s been

awhile since I’ve pitched in front of anybody in Seattle,”

Lincecum, who still makes his offseason home in Seattle, said

before the Giants on Friday’s series opener 4-2. “For it to be now,

in this kind of stage, at this time in the season, when for me, I

need to make my stand, I need to do something, I need to show

people I’m still worth keeping in a rotation. Hopefully, this is a

springboard.”

Lincecum has lost both of his interleague starts in 2012, giving

up nine runs in 9 2-3 innings.

He’ll face a Mariners team that is batting .200 and has totaled

13 runs during its six-game slide – all home games against NL

opponents.

“We’re struggling on offense here right now,” said manager Eric

Wedge, whose club will now try to avoid matching its season-high

seven-game losing streak from April 28-May 4..

The Mariners (27-39) will try to win for the first time since

Kevin Millwood’s last outing. The veteran right-hander is scheduled

to get the ball Saturday after his start was pushed back two days

due to a slight groin strain suffered June 8 in a 1-0 victory over

the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Millwood (3-5, 3.57) left that contest after six innings, but

five Seattle relievers pitched in to produce the 10th combined

no-hitter in major league history.

“I really haven’t thought much of it, to be honest,” Millwood

told the Mariners’ official website Wednesday. “… for me, the

bigger issue is just getting back on the mound.”

Containing Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera could also be an

issue. Cabrera went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer Friday, increasing

his batting average to an NL-best .365.

He is 4 for 14 with a triple and a double off Millwood.

The Giants are looking to win two in a row in Seattle for just

the second time, and the first time at Safeco. They won on June 12

and 13, 1999, at the Kingdome.

The Mariners’ new park opened the following month.