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Giants' Ace Lincecum Faces Cubs; Giants Lead NL Wild Card By One Game

(Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants like their chances of keeping pace in the NL West with Tim Lincecum set to take the hill tonight. Lincecum will shoot for his 12th win of the season in the second portion of a four-game series versus the Chicago Cubs at AT&T Park.

The two-time defending NL Cy Young honoree is coming off a loss at Atlanta last Thursday, as he surrendered three runs in 6 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts. Lincecum was 3-0 in his previous five starts -- all San Francisco wins -- before falling to 11-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 starts.

Lincecum will face the Cubs for the seventh time in his career and is 3-2 against them with a 2.55 ERA. He's also 7-3 in 11 home starts in 2010.

San Francisco is in the heat of a playoff race and looks to ride the coattails of its best pitcher. It pulled within 1 1/2 games of the idle NL West-leading San Diego Padres with last night's 4-3 victory in 11 innings on Pat Burrell's sacrifice fly. Burrell plated Edgar Renteria with the game-winning run, while the Giants shortstop led off the bottom of the 11th with a single.

"We left some men on base, but after a tough trip to Atlanta, it's nice to get a win to start this homestand," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We grinded hard to win that game."

Burrell had two hits and Andres Torres finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored for the NL Wild Card-leading Giants, who ended a two-game slide and won for the sixth time in 10 tries. San Francisco is one game ahead of both Philadelphia and St. Louis for the final postseason berth in the National League.

The Giants will host San Diego for a crucial three-game series after this lengthy set with the Cubs.

Chicago has dropped four straight and 11 of its last 12 games. Marlon Byrd, Tyler Colvin and Alfonso Soriano each drove in a run last night, while starter Carlos Zambrano was back on the hill and did not record a decision for tossing five innings of two-run ball. Marcos Mateo was saddled with the loss for giving up Burrell's sac fly in the 11th.

"It was normal," Zambrano said of his first start since June 25. "Too much movement on my fastball but everything was normal."

The Cubs were without catcher Geovany Soto and first baseman Derrek Lee in last night's setback. Soto landed on the disabled list yesterday with a shoulder injury and Lee was put on the bereavement list to be with his ailing grandfather. The team, which will also visit St. Louis, announced that starting pitcher Carlos Silva underwent a successful cardiac ablation on Monday in Chicago and is expected to pitch again this season.

Ryan Dempster will pitch for the 24th time this season when he toes the rubber Tuesday for the Giants. Dempster has won four of his last six decisions and beat Milwaukee the previous time out last Wednesday. He worked six innings against the Brewers and permitted three runs in six innings.

The right-hander improved to 9-8 with a 3.76 ERA this season. Dempster, though, hasn't had much success against San Francisco, going 3-7 with a 4.11 ERA in 21 career meetings (11 starts).

Chicago and San Francisco are meeting for the first time since the Cubs took four of six matchups a year ago, including three of four at AT&T Park. The Cubs have won 13 of the last 21 encounters with the Giants.