Giants Aim For Playoffs, Lincecum Faces Kennedy: 7:10 P.M. AZT

(Sports Network) - Scoreboard watching is common among teams in pursuit of a postseason spot and the San Francisco Giants are liking what they see.

While the San Diego Padres continue to flounder in the National League West, the Giants are closing in on their first division title and playoff appearance since 2003. Tonight San Francisco will shoot for its third straight win in the second test of a three-game set versus the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park.

The Giants were able to trim their magic number for an NL West title to four after last night's 4-2 win over Arizona in the series opener. Nate Schierholtz put his club ahead for good with an RBI single in the sixth inning and Pat Burrell padded the lead on a run-scoring hit in the seventh. Juan Uribe homered and Mike Fontenot drove in a run for the Giants, who are two games ahead of San Diego in the division and have won six of their last eight games.

"It feels good. ... every game is huge, obviously," said Schierholtz. "It's a big game for us to start the homestand."

Jonathan Sanchez recorded his 12th win of the season by holding the D'Backs to a pair of runs on three hits in six innings. He also struck out six batters. Brian Wilson pitched the final 1 2/3 frames for his 46th save.

San Francisco, which finishes the season with a home series against the Padres, will send two-time defending NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum to the mound Wednesday and he's won four of his last five starts. Lincecum beat Colorado on the road last Friday with eight innings of one-run ball and nine strikeouts. He is now 15-10 with a 3.51 earned run average in 32 starts.

Lincecum beat Arizona on Sept. 7 in the desert and is 1-1 in four starts against the Diamondbacks this season. The right-hander has made 13 career starts in this series, going 6-2 with a 2.71 ERA. He is trading places with Madison Bumgarner in the rotation just in case this weekend's set with San Diego has any meaning.

Arizona had won five of six games before losing Tuesday's series opener. Kelly Johnson recorded two hits, including a home run, and starting pitcher Rodrigo Lopez was credited with an RBI in defeat.

Lopez was saddled with the loss for allowing three runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"It was his game," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said of Lopez, who allowed Schierholtz's RBI single in the sixth. "He pitched well for us and I would never take him out in that situation."

Ian Kennedy hopes for a better showing from his last performance when he toes the rubber for Gibson's squad tonight. Kennedy has recorded four straight no- decisions and is 3-0 over his previous nine starts. He tossed only four innings in last Thursday's 10-9 win over the Rockies and limited the visitors to a run and three hits.

Kennedy, a right-hander, is 9-9 in 31 starts this season to go along with a 3.76 ERA. He is 1-1 in four career starts against San Francisco, which was held to two hits over eight scoreless innings by Kennedy on Sept. 6. Kennedy did not factor in the outcome of that 2-0 loss.

The Giants have dominated this season's series with Arizona to the tune of an 11-5 margin, including a 5-2 ledger by the Bay.

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