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SF@COL: Lincecum fans eight over six innings

At this point in the season, the Giants winning the National League West crown appears to be a matter of "when," rather than "if."

San Francisco has extended its lead over Los Angeles to eight games with 15 to go. It's the largest division lead for the Giants since they finished the 2003 campaign 15 1/2 games up.

They play host to the floundering Rockies on Tuesday in the second game of a four-game set. The Rockies have lost 10 of their last 12 games, including a 2-1 defeat in San Francisco on Monday.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Monday that he plans on getting some of his regulars a bit of rest down the stretch.

"I think we're OK, but if I think a guy needs a day at this point, he's going to get a day," Bochy said. "You don't want to wear a guy down right now."

The pitching matchup is a rematch of last Wednesday's 8-3 Giants victory in which Colorado starter Jeff Francis was tagged for five runs in the top of the first inning.

"They came out ready to swing," Francis said. "It wasn't anything about me not feeling good or not trying to be aggressive. I made some mistakes; they hit them. I made some [decent] pitches; they hit them. That turns into a long inning and keeps you from going deeper in the game than you'd like to."

The left-hander Francis (5-5, 5.68 ERA) didn't allow another run, but the damage was done. He's hoping to stop a stretch in which he has posted a 6.50 ERA in his last 10 starts.

Opposing Francis is two-time Cy Young Award-winning right-hander Tim Lincecum, in search of his fifth straight 10-win season. That feat might not seem like much, but given that he started the season 3-10, it would be quite an accomplishment.

In three September outings, Lincecum (9-14, 5.09 ERA) has two wins and three quality starts, though his pitch count has been a little higher than he would have liked each time.

Rockies: De La Rosa set for Thursday return
Jorge De La Rosa will make his first start since Tommy John surgery in 2011 on Thursday, and the club will move right-hander Alex White to the bullpen to clear room in the rotation.

"It's really exciting to be back in the game," De La Rosa said. "But at the same time I have to be calm, don't get too excited on the mound. That will be real hard for me, but I will try to stay calm and make my pitches."

The 31-year-old left-hander twice had his rehab shut down because of elbow tightness. He'll likely make two or three starts before the end of the season.

Giants: Nady makes return
Outfielder Xavier Nady went 0-for-3 Monday in his return from a strained left hamstring.

Nady, who has been sidelined since Sept. 5, said he isn't feeling 100 percent, but he is well enough to make a return, so long as he does so wisely.

"You just have to be smart if you hit a ball in the gap or something, try not to do something nuts or crazy," Nady said. "Each day you can build your stretch back and then monitor it."

Nady had his contract purchased by the Giants on Sept. 1 and had four hits in 12 at-bats before the injury.

Worth noting
• San Francisco catcher Buster Posey has owned the Rockies, hitting .378 with five homers in 37 games against them.

• The Rockies haven't won a season series at AT&T Park since they went 6-3 there in 2008. They'd need to win the final three games of this series to do so, having won two of six thus far.

• In 39 career at-bats against Lincecum, Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez is hitting .308 with a pair of homers, an on-base percentage of .386 and a slugging percentage of .641.

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