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MIA@SF: Lincecum fans eight over seven strong frames

Both the Giants and Reds -- 2012 National League Division Series opponents -- have struggled mightily on the road recently, and while the Giants are still a few days away from returning to San Francisco, Cincinnati is already benefiting from a return to Great American Ball Park.

With Monday's rain-shortened 8-1 Reds win over the Giants, San Francisco fell to 1-6 on its current road trip and 15-28 away from AT&T Park this season. Cincinnati, however, is hoping that playing in front of the home crowd again can help jump-start a struggling club.

The teams meet again on Tuesday in the second game of a four-game set.

"It's two teams struggling," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "One thing's for sure, somebody's going to come out of it, so it might as well be us. We got them four games. We realize they can break out at any time, and we can break out at any time."

Baker said the club's sole focus at the moment is on the current stretch leading up to the All-Star break.

"Let's see how many we can win before the All-Star break," Baker said. "That's what good basketball teams do. They make a run right before halftime, they come right out after halftime and make another quick run. You can pick up two games here, two games there."

While the Reds were experiencing road woes -- 2-6 on the last road trip and a stretch of 3-7 overall -- the Pirates ran off nine consecutive games, their best winning streak since 2004. Less than two weeks ago, the Reds sat 2 1/2 games behind the Cardinals in their second-place perch. Heading into Tuesday's matchup, the third-place Reds are five games behind the Pirates.

"To tell you the truth, I don't really know how everyone else is feeling, but I know as a team we want to win," Brandon Phillips said. "We don't want to let the city down. We want to get as many wins as possible. Hopefully we can get turned up because we've been turned down."

Reds: Bailey happy to turn the calendar

Homer Bailey will take the mound for the first time in July on Tuesday, and that's a good thing for the Cincinnati right-hander after a rough June.

Bailey, whose career ERA is nearly a run lower in July than June, is 0-2 in his last three starts and allowed a combined 10 runs in the two losses. Bailey last saw the Giants in Game 3 of the 2012 NLDS. In seven masterful innings, Bailey allowed just one run on one hit while striking out 10, but the Giants ultimately won the game -- the first of three consecutive victories to claim the series.

Giants: Lincecum faces Reds in much different role

Tim Lincecum will start for the Giants on Tuesday in a much different position from which Cincinnati faced him in last year's NLDS.

Lincecum, San Francisco's maligned starter who owns a 4-8 record and 4.64 ERA in 16 starts, was relegated to bullpen duty last postseason -- and flourished for the World Series champions.

In the NLDS against the Reds, Lincecum was a critical component of manager Bruce Bochy's bullpen, allowing just one run over 6 1/3 innings.

In Game 4 at Great American Ball Park and the Giants facing elimination, Lincecum lasted 4 1/3 innings and allowed one run while striking out six Reds hitters. His impressive work allowed the Giants to cruise to an 8-3 victory and force a decisive Game 5.

Lincecum has returned to the starting rotation in 2013 with mixed results. He pitched most effectively in June, but had little to show for it with a 1-3 record and 3.60 ERA. Only in his final start of the month -- a 4-2 loss at Los Angeles last week -- did Lincecum allow more than three earned runs.

Worth noting
• Reds outfielder Jay Bruce is on pace for 47 doubles, 35 home runs and 110 RBIs in 2013. He could become the 18th player in Major League history to slug 50 doubles, 35 home runs and 100 RBIs in a season, a list that includes the Reds' Frank Robinson in 1962.

• Buster Posey's scorching bat cooled off Monday in an 0-for-3 effort in the 8-1 loss at Cincinnati. Posey entered the series 11-for-22 with three doubles, four home runs and six RBIs with a 1.182 slugging percentage and .560 on-base percentage through the first six games of the 10-game road trip. Posey was honored for last week's production with National League Player of the Week honors. Comments