(Sports Network) - The San Francisco Giants now have company atop the National League Wild Card standings. They have some work to do in order to take back sole possession of the final playoff spot in the Senior Circuit.
San Francisco looks to bounce back tonight versus the visiting Chicago Cubs in the third installment of a four-game series, and dropped an 8-6 decision Tuesday at AT&T Park. Two-time defending NL Cy Young Award recipient Tim Lincecum was hammered for six runs and eight hits in just four innings, losing for the second straight time.
"It's just about bouncing back and staying mentally strong," Lincecum said.
Rookie of the Year candidate Buster Posey had a big night despite the outcome and finished 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, four RBI and a run scored. Pablo Sandoval also contributed three hits and drove in a run for the Giants, who won the series opener in 11 innings, but have lost five of their last seven games. The Giants are now tied with Cincinnati for the wild card lead and fell 2 1/2 games behind San Diego for the top spot in the NL West. The Padres beat Pittsburgh last night.
Giants veteran starter Barry Zito hasn't received much run support lately and has to be wondering how his team lost last night, despite scoring six runs for staff ace Lincecum. San Francisco has scored nine runs over Zito's last five starts and will send the left-hander to the mound Wednesday.
Zito has lost two of three decisions in the past five starts and is 1-4 with a 3.68 earned run average in his previous 10 outings. He hasn't recorded a decision in consecutive trips to the hill and last pitched in Friday's 3-2 victory at Atlanta, allowing just two runs in seven innings with 10 strikeouts. He remained at 8-6 in 23 starts this season with a 3.35 ERA.
The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner with the Oakland A's, Zito has been solid at home in 2010, going 6-2 in 12 starts by the Bay. He is only 1-3 with a 4.66 earned run average in five career starts against the Cubs.
Chicago ended a four-game losing streak and won for only the second time in 13 tries last night. Kosuke Fukudome's two-run homer off of Lincecum highlighted a four-run first inning for the Cubs, who got two hits and three RBI from Starlin Castro and a two-run double out of Mike Fontenot. Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez became the 266th player in Major League history with 1,000 RBI with a run-scoring single in the first inning.
Ryan Dempster was able to post his 10th win of the season and was reached for four runs -- three earned -- and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Carlos Marmol put a scare into his Cubs teammates after he gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Cubs committed three errors which could have cost Dempster the win.
"I can't blame these guys for getting a little frustrated," Cubs acting manager Alan Trammell said of the starters on the team's website. "We make too many errors, we make too many mistakes. It's not that easy to correct. In the heat of the battle, we don't make plays."
Manager Lou Piniella is with his ailing mother and did not travel with the team. The Cubs hope to scrape out another win when they send Tom Gorzelanny to the mound Wednesday. Gorzelanny is 6-6 with a 3.51 earned run average in 22 games (16 starts) this season and lost last Friday versus Cincinnati.
Gorzelanny allowed all three runs in a 3-0 loss to the Reds, lasting seven innings with five K's and four walks. It was his longest outing since going seven frames in a win versus Arizona on May 2. The lefty has been perfect in his career against San Francisco as evidenced by his 3-0 mark and 1.29 ERA in three 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 14 of the last 22 encounters with the Giants.