Despite coming up short in the finale, the San Francisco Giants proved plenty potent on their just-completed road trip.
That was hardly the case during their last homestand.
The Giants - losers of seven of eight in San Francisco - return home Friday night to open a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies , who try to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat in this series after getting swept last weekend.
Having batted .321 and averaged 8.1 runs while taking five of seven on its trip, San Francisco (61-51) is hoping to see some of that success carry over at home. Before leaving town, the Giants dropped seven of eight on their own field while getting outscored 45-19 and batting .204.
"This was an important road trip," manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants' official website. "We bounced back after really struggling there at home. The guys showed a lot of character on this trip."
One day after cruising to a 15-0 win at St. Louis, though, San Francisco fell 3-1 in Thursday's series finale. The Giants went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position while Angel Pagan , Melky Cabrera and Hunter Pence - the club's 1-3-5 hitters - combined to go 0 for 11.
"That's the beauty of this game," said infielder Marco Scutaro , who drove in San Francisco's only run after he had seven RBIs on Wednesday. "You can't predict what's going to happen tomorrow. You never know. That's the way it goes."
The Giants appear to have a good shot at bouncing back behind Tim Lincecum (6-11, 5.43 ERA), who after struggling for much of the season, seems to have found his groove. The right-hander is 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA over his last five starts, yielding two runs or fewer in all but one of those outings.
"I think it's just the competitiveness," he said. "I don't think anything is different. I'm not throwing any harder, obviously. I'm not throwing any different kind of pitches. I think it's just the conviction on the pitches. Every pitch before you throw it is with a purpose."
Lincecum matched a season high with five walks but managed to limit the damage Sunday, scattering five hits over six innings of one-run ball in an 8-3 win at Coors Field. He improved to 6-3 with a 3.15 ERA over his last 11 starts versus Colorado.
After dropping all three matchups against the Giants by a 35-13 margin last weekend, the Rockies (40-69) opened a six-game trip with back-to-back wins over the Los Angeles Dodgers before falling 6-4 in Wednesday's series finale. Eric Young led off with an inside-the-park homer but Jeff Francis wasn't very sharp and lasted just four innings.
With manager Jim Tracy continuing to use a four-man rotation, Rockies starters are bring limited to around 75 pitches.
"It might not be what we're used to, but it's the situation we're in," Francis said. "We just keep pitching till they take the ball away."
Taking the mound for Colorado on Friday is Tyler Chatwood (1-2, 6.61), who had a rough time in his first start of the season Sunday opposite Lincecum. The right-hander gave up three runs - one earned - and four walks over 3 1-3 innings.
"When he was in the strike zone, he was effective," Tracy said. "His ball was live, he threw some good breaking balls. He wasn't in there consistently enough. He had very sporadic command. He used up a lot of pitches in a very short period of time."
Colorado has dropped 13 of 16 to San Francisco dating to last season, compiling a 6.17 ERA in those games.
|August 06, 2012||Todd Helton||15-Day DL||Torn labrum, right hip|
|August 04, 2012||Jonathan Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left biceps tendinitis|
|August 01, 2012||Todd Helton||Day-to-Day||Flu|
|August 01, 2012||Michael Cuddyer||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|August 01, 2012||Dexter Fowler||Day-to-Day||Flu-like symptoms|
|August 01, 2012||Michael Cuddyer||Day-to-Day||Sore oblique|
|San Francisco Giants|
|August 07, 2012||Shane Loux||15-Day DL||Recurring neck strain|
|July 31, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Strained right knee|
|July 25, 2012||Pablo Sandoval||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|July 18, 2012||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left knee sprain|
|July 18, 2012||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left knee sprain|
|July 17, 2012||Hector Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Left knee sprain|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum 's modest win streak is over, the Giants are struggling to hit at home and now their lead in the NL West is gone.
Lincecum pitched seven mostly strong innings but got little offensive support from San Francisco's offense, which managed just three hits in a 3-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
While it was another step forward for the Giants' two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, it was also a stark reminder of how they've struggled offensively at AT&T Park this year.
San Francisco hasn't scored in its last 14 innings at home and was shut out for the fifth time this season - sixth overall - at its waterfront ballpark.
"Timmy was fine, we just didn't swing it," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's pretty simple. (Lincecum) wasn't the problem. Three hits was the problem."
The Giants swept the Rockies in a three-game series at Coors Field a week ago when they outscored the hosts 35-13.
This time around, San Francisco only got one runner to third base.
"We go into every game with the same amount of confidence and it doesn't matter where we're playing," said shortstop Brandon Crawford , who had two of the Giants' three hits. "We just haven't seemed to get hits here lately."
San Francisco (61-52) fell into a tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West.
Tyler Chatwood combined with three relievers on the shutout, just the third by the Rockies this season.
Wilin Rosario doubled twice and scored a run while Tyler Colvin added two hits and an RBI for Colorado. The Rockies scored all their runs off Lincecum, who had allowed only two runs in his previous two starts.
"This is the kind of game you really feel like a team," said D.J. LeMahieu, who singled and scored in the third. "The pitchers are doing their job, the defense goes great and the offense scratches out some runs."
Chatwood (2-2) scattered three hits over five innings in his second start this season. The right-hander, who began the season in the bullpen, had two strikeouts and two walks.
Adam Ottavino pitched two innings, Matt Belisle worked the eighth and Rafael Betancourt pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 20th save.
Lincecum (6-12) repeatedly fell behind in the count and the Rockies took advantage.
LeMahieu singled leading off the third, was sacrificed to second and scored from third on Dexter Fowler 's single to left-center. Fowler tried to stretch his hit into a double but was thrown out by San Francisco center fielder Angel Pagan .
In the fourth, Rosario doubled and scored on Colvin's RBI single to make it 2-0.
Lincecum, who had won his previous two starts, struck out three and walked two in seven innings.
"I gave them too many good pitches to hit," he said. "It was just a tough day. Losing, getting shut out like that at home, is tough for us."
Chatwood wasn't overpowering but he was effective.
The Giants got a runner to second in the third and fourth but failed to advance against the right-hander.
In the fifth, San Francisco put runners on the corners with one out but Chatwood worked out of it with some help from his teammates. Chatwood struck out Lincecum, and Rosario threw out Crawford trying to steal second on the same pitch.
Colorado's defense came up big again in the sixth.
With Melky Cabrera on first following a two-out error by third baseman Chris Nelson , LeMahieu knocked down Hunter Pence 's sharp grounder up the middle and scrambled to make a one-handed flip to shortstop Josh Rutledge covering the bag.
Nelson made up for his gaffe and gave the Rockies some breathing room with a sacrifice fly in the seventh that knocked in Colvin to make it 3-0.
Colorado's pitching did the rest.
Ottavino pitched out of a two-on, one-out jam in the seventh, and San Francisco didn't manage a baserunner the rest of the way.
NOTES: San Francisco 3B Pablo Sandoval (strained hamstring) played five innings during a rehab start in the minors and could rejoin the big league club by Monday, according to Bochy. ... Colorado 1B Todd Helton underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, bringing an end to a disappointing season. Helton, who turns 39 on Aug. 20, has said he plans to return for the final season of his two-year contract. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki (groin) is running without pain but isn't yet close to playing. Tulowitzki has been on the DL since May 31. ... RHP Matt Cain (10-5) tries to end his four-start winless streak for the Giants on Saturday. LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-6) pitches for the Rockies. ... A plaque commemorating Cain's perfect game against the Houston Astros on June 13 was placed on a walkway outside the right-field wall at AT&T Park during a pregame ceremony.