At this point, the Giants and Rockies must settle for moral victories.
Both teams sit at least 15 games back of the Dodgers in the National League West, the only true race remaining is to catch the D-backs and finish second. These struggling teams -- the Rockies were swept by the Padres in a 5-2 loss Sunday and the Giants have lost four of seven -- open a three-game series Monday at AT&T Park.
Colorado will turn to its best pitcher over the last five weeks in right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (13-8, 3.16 ERA). Chacin cut through opposing lineups with a 1.91 ERA in six starts last month, his best start coming against the Giants, when he took a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings -- the longest no-hit bid by a Rockies starter at Coors Field in club history.
He wasn't in such impressive form in his first September start, allowing four runs in seven innings Tuesday, the most he's given up since July 4. But Chacin has only improved with time, boasting a 2.39 ERA and nine quality starts in 11 tries since July 9.
"I battled the whole game, but I didn't have my best command or movement on my fastball," Chacin said following his last start. "I left a couple balls up and they didn't try to do too much. They'd just go the other way."
Tim Linceum (9-13, 4.50 ERA), 0-2 with an 8.00 ERA in three starts against the Rockies this year, will get the nod for the Giants. The former ace is eyeing his fourth straight win despite surrendering five runs over 5 2/3 innings to the Padres his last time out.
He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first, but was far from thrilled by his performance.
"It was nice to get out of that inning," Lincecum said after the start. "Other than that, if you look at the whole game as a whole, I didn't do very well. Too many walks, too many fallen-behind counts."
Even if the Rockies' offense can give Lincecum trouble early, they will face a Giants bullpen that has allowed just two runs in its last 17 1/3 innings. Over the last 15 games, Giants relievers have a 1.00 ERA with 32 strikeouts.
Colorado has dropped six of its last seven series on the road and is still looking for the series that can help end their woes away from Denver. With five losses in their last six, the Rockies have fallen 12 games under .500, matching a season worst.
Rockies: LeMahieu continues career-best streak
Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu didn't play in Sunday's loss, preserving his career-high 10-game hitting streak.
LeMahieu has six multihit games and is hitting. 390 with three doubles, four RBIs and five runs since the streak began. After a slow July, LeMahieu hit .281 and drove in five runs in August and is batting .435 in six games this month.
It's the eighth hitting streak of at least 10 games for a Rockies player this season, second-most in the Majors behind three other clubs who have had nine players do so.
Giants: Pence close to joining 20-20 club
With one more home run, Giants right fielder Hunter Pence will become just the third player in the Majors with 20 homers and 20 stolen bases this year.
Pence has stolen a career-high 21 bases this year and belted his 19th homer Friday, putting him on pace for the first 20-20 season of his career. He would be the first Giants player with those numbers since Barry Bonds had 37 homers and 28 stolen bases in 1998, and only six players have achieved the feat since the club came to San Francisco.
Pence, who is hitting .337 since the All-Star break, would join Carlos Gonzalez (26 homers, 21 steals) and Mike Trout (23 homers, 32 steals) in this year's 20-20 club.
• The season series between the Rockies and Giants is tied at 8-8.
• Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer is 6-for-14 (.429) with four doubles and a homer off Lincecum.
Ian McCue is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.