NL West Race: Tim Lincecum, Ian Kennedy Duel As Giants Host Diamondbacks

The San Francisco Giants inched closer to contention on Friday night, defeating Arizona 6-2 and pulling within 5 games of the NL West-leading Diamondbacks.

Arizona looks to increase their lead on the Giants as they send staff ace Ian Kennedy to the mound for game two. Kennedy (17-4, 3.03 ERA) has surprised nearly everyone in baseball, earning consideration to be this year's Cy Young winner.

Kennedy has pitched extremely well against San Francisco in 2011: over 24 innings pitched, Kennedy has given up  three runs (two earned) while collecting 25 strikeouts and walking only five batters. His ERA is a sparkling 0.75 in battles against this key division foe.

The Giants counter with Tim Lincecum, a two-time Cy Young winner and an incredible talent. Lincecum has suffered from a chronic lack of run support this season, and despite a 2.58 ERA the Giants' ace has a middling 12-11 record. Lincecum has five losses this season where he gave up two earned runs or less, including three games where he only gave up one run.

Should the Giants hope to pull out the victory on Saturday night, Carlos Beltran needs to continue his resurgence. Beltran was 4 for 4 last night, hitting a home run, a triple and driving in three runs to help the Giants defeat the D-backs. 

Diamondbacks fans should watch Aaron Hill, Arizona's newly acquired second baseman. Since being traded from Toronto in late August, Hill has amassed a .353 batting average with his new team. Hill has seven RBI and 12 hits in 9 games played for Arizona.

The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Arizona Plus, with radio coverage provided by Arizona Sports 620. The D-backs were bumped from FS Arizona in favor of the Arizona Wildcats home opener against the NAU Lumberjacks.

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