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SF@LAD: Lincecum strikes out four over 5 2/3 innings

Even the best stretches have speed bumps.

The National League West-leading Giants head into Saturday on the heels of their best month this season, despite a 6-4 loss to the Cubs on the final day of August. San Francisco has won 10 of its last 14, and 18 of 27 overall.

Tim Lincecum goes for the Giants on Saturday in a 12:05 p.m. CT start at Wrigley Field. The right-hander has been closer to the pitcher one would expect in the second half, despite losses in three of his last four starts. Lincecum is 4-4 with a 3.31 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break, with 51 strikeouts and 18 walks in 54 1/3 innings.

That has given the Giants cause for optimism, considering Lincecum went into the break with a 6.42 ERA. Still, his last time out, he matched his single-season high with his 14th loss, allowing three runs in five innings against the Braves.

"He was fighting himself quite a bit," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was out of sync out there. We even talked about it during the game -- that he felt like he was going too quick and couldn't get in rhythm out there. I don't know if he was over-amped in the first inning, but he was having trouble getting the ball where he wanted."

The first inning has been a particular problem for Lincecum, who's surrendered 25 first-inning runs in 27 starts.

With an eye toward the future down the stretch, the Cubs have some excitement anticipated for Saturday in the form of callups. Right-hander Justin Germano, roughed up by the Brewers in two straight starts, will take the mound, potentially with some new teammates behind him.

Outfielders Tony Campana and Dave Sappelt and infielder Adrian Cardenas are expected to be added. So too is right-hander Miguel Socolovich, claimed off waivers on Aug. 23 from the Orioles, and catcher Anthony Recker, acquired Monday in a trade with the Athletics for Minor League catcher Blake Lalli.

Also coming is pitcher Chris Rusin, who's in line to pitch Tuesday against the Nationals.

Giants: Day off for Posey coming
Buster Posey made a seventh consecutive start Friday in a 6-4 loss the Cubs, going 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, a double and a walk. With Lincecum on the mound Saturday -- Hector Sanchez usually catches him -- Posey is likely to get a day off.

Bochy said he might have to force the issue, because Posey will want to play. The catcher's left ankle has bothered him at times and is reason for the Giants to be cautious.

"I may have to take it out of his hands," Bochy said.

Cubs: Beliveau arrives a bit early
Jeff Beliveau was recalled from Triple-A Iowa Friday, a day before rosters expand. The right-hander was one of the team's expected callups come Saturday, but he was needed a bit sooner to take Brooks Raley's spot.

Raley was shut down for the year because he reached his innings limit of 155 between three levels, spanning Double-A to the Majors.

• Saturday is the ninth game of a stretch that sees the Cubs play 20 of 30 games at Wrigley Field through Sept. 23.

Worth noting
• The Giants have won 14 of their last 22 games against Chicago. Comments