Padres-Giants Preview

A lack of run support didn’t cost Tim Lincecum his fourth

straight All-Star selection.

It’s certainly costing him victories, though.

The San Francisco Giants will try to provide some backing for

their ace as he looks to continue his dominance of the San Diego

Padres in the opener of a four-game series Monday.

Lincecum (6-6, 3.04 ERA) went 1-2 with a 4.84 ERA and 43

strikeouts in 35 1-3 innings in six starts last month, getting

seven total runs of support during that stretch. That lack of

offensive help has been prevalent in the right-hander’s last two

games, during which he’s received only one run while going 1-0 and

yielding one run and eight hits with 21 strikeouts in 14

innings.

Despite his June struggles, Lincecum was named to the NL roster

for next week’s All-Star game in Arizona, joining fellow starters

Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong and closer Brian Wilson in

representing the NL West-leading Giants (48-37).

“It’s standard,” Wilson told the team’s official website of

Lincecum’s All-Star inclusion.

Lincecum has left little doubt of his status among baseball’s

elite when he faces the Padres (38-47). He’s 6-3 with a 2.03 ERA in

14 starts against them, winning the last two by allowing two runs

while fanning 22 in 14 innings.

He dominated the division rival again April 6, holding San Diego

to one run and three hits with a season-high 13 strikeouts in an

8-4 victory.

However, Lincecum’s mastery of the Padres hasn’t been enough to

lead the Giants to many wins in the series at home lately. San

Francisco has lost nine of 11 at home to San Diego, batting .220

and averaging 2.27 runs during that span.

After scoring a season-high 15 runs in Saturday’s win at

Detroit, San Francisco failed to complete the sweep with a 6-3 loss

Sunday.

Pablo Sandoval went 1 for 5 to extend his career-high hitting

streak to 14 games. He’s batting .295 with two homers and seven

RBIs during the run. He owns a .329 average with 11 RBIs in 21 home

meetings with the Padres, and went 4 for 8 in a two-game split at

Petco Park in April.

The Padres are dealing with their own offensive issues, getting

outscored 9-2 while dropping two of three at Seattle after losing

3-1 Sunday.

Chase Headley has been a rare bright spot at the plate, hitting

.453 in the past 16 games. He’s also thriving at AT&T Park with

a .370 average and six RBIs in his last 11 visits.

The Padres turn to Clayton Richard (4-9, 4.09), who has won

consecutive starts after winning twice in his first 15 this

season.

The left-hander last won three games in a row Aug. 13-24, and he

moved closer to matching that with Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Kansas

City. He yielded two runs and five hits in seven innings, six days

after he limited Boston to one run in five innings of a 5-1

victory.

“He’s pitched well,” manager Bud Black said. “You look at his

homework – look at the ERA, the hits per inning pitched. The wins

are going to come if he continues to pitch like that.”

Richard went 4-1 with a 2.39 ERA in six starts against the

Giants last year, winning all three in San Francisco behind a 3.44

ERA.