The San Francisco Giants have surged to their largest NL West lead of the season, largely due to their success on the road since the All-Star break.
Tim Lincecum has been a major reason for that, and he'll look to win his fifth straight start on the road as he faces the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.The Giants' 9-8 win over Colorado on Tuesday coupled with the Los Angeles Dodgers' 1-0 loss to Arizona gave San Francisco (80-62) a season-best six-game advantage in the West with 20 to play."A lot of baseball still," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've got to keep focused on what we're doing. We've got our hands full right now."Brandon Belt had a tiebreaking two-run double in the fifth, a solo homer in the seventh and finished with four RBIs. Madison Bumgarner struggled on the mound, but he hit a three-run homer in the fourth.The Giants, who have won 10 of 12 over the Rockies at Coors Field, are 20-7 on the road since the All-Star break and haven't lost a series away from home since dropping two of three in Pittsburgh from July 6-8.Lincecum (8-14, 5.11 ERA) has been stellar outside San Francisco of late, winning his last four starts with a 2.16 ERA. He beat the Rockies during that stretch Aug. 5 when he gave up one run in six innings of an 8-3 victory.The right-hander, though, walked five in that contest, and he also struggled with his control in his most recent start. He allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings Friday against the Dodgers, but walked a career-most seven and was let off the hook as the Giants rallied for a 5-2 victory.Lincecum has allowed more than three runs only once in his last eight starts, going 4-3 with a 3.23 ERA in that stretch. It also includes a 3-0 home loss to Colorado on Aug. 10 after he gave up those runs over seven innings.He's 1-1 with a 5.64 ERA in four starts this season versus the Rockies, who have lost six of seven.Colorado (57-84) squandered a four-run lead Tuesday despite 17 hits -- its most since finishing with 20 in a win over Washington on June 28. Chris Nelson and Jordan Pacheco each had three, and Tyler Colvin hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the ninth."We did our fair share of hitting tonight," manager Jim Tracy said.Jeff Francis (5-4, 5.38) will take the mound Wednesday seeking to avenge his Aug. 4 loss to San Francisco. The left-hander had a rough outing against the Giants last month, giving up six runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings of an 11-6 defeat.Francis had a solid outing Friday but didn't get the win, striking out seven in 5 2/3 scoreless innings while helping the Rockies set a franchise record of 36 consecutive innings without giving up an earned run. The streak eventually ended, and Colorado fell 3-2 to Philadelphia."For me to get through five and a bit without any damage, that was giving us a good chance to win," Francis said.He had gone 4-1 with a 2.80 ERA in his previous five starts versus San Francisco before last month.