SAN FRANCISCO -- Game 5 of the National League Championship Series is sure to be played. And the Giants can feel almost as sure that Tim Lincecum will excel, based on past performance.Lincecum, San Francisco's Game 5 starter against the Philadelphia Phillies, has faced the same opponent in back-to-back appearances six times in his regular-season career. His record the second time around is a dazzling 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA and 43 strikeouts against only 11 walks in 44 innings. One of these instances happened to occur against the Phillies in 2008. After receiving no decision while allowing four unearned runs in six innings in a 6-5 Giants loss on May 4 at Philadelphia, Lincecum returned home and subdued the Phillies for eight innings, allowing two runs and four hits while walking one and striking out eight in an 8-2 conquest. Lincecum last faced the same team twice in a row on Aug. 23 and 28, 2009. He absorbed the decision in a 4-2 Giants loss at Colorado in the first game, yielding three runs and three hits in seven innings, before blanking the Rockies on four hits through eight innings in a 2-0 win at San Francisco. Lincecum was efficient in the Giants' 4-3 triumph in Game 1 of the NLCS last Saturday. He surrendered three runs and six hits and struck out eight in seven innings to earn his second postseason victory.
Torres sits; Rowand, Renteria start Game 3
SAN FRANCISCO -- With a sputtering offense and a tough lefty on the mound, the Giants fielded a completely different lineup for Game 3 of the National League Championship Series on Tuesday afternoon.Andres Torres got the game off after going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Game 2, with Aaron Rowand getting the start in center. With Torres out, Edgar Renteria hit leadoff and started at shortstop. After sitting out Game 2 with a bruised left wrist, Juan Uribe -- whose MRI came back showing only inflammation -- shifted to third and hit seventh. Giants manager Bruce Bochy also tinkered with the heart of the order, moving Buster Posey to the three-hole, batting Pat Burrell cleanup and moving the surging Cody Ross to fifth. Aubrey Huff, who hit third in in 98 games this season, moved down to sixth against left-hander Cole Hamels. Huff hit .296 against lefties during the regular season, as opposed to .287 against right-handers. "A lot depended on how Juan was doing, so I had to wait until I get the OK that he was going," Bochy said of Tuesday's lineup. "We talked about it quite a bit on the way back from Philly, before the workout yesterday and after, and I was pretty sure this was the lineup that we would go with." Bochy also said he will likely fill out the lineup on a day-by-day basis the rest of the way based on matchups, but did say Torres would be back in the lineup against right-hander Joe Blanton in Wednesday's Game 4.
Ross' playoff success not lost in the shuffle
SAN FRANCISCO -- With Roy Halladay's no-hitter, Tim Lincecum's 14-strikeout performance and Cliff Lee's continued dominance in the playoffs, the 2010 playoffs might be the postseason of the pitcher.But in San Francisco, it also could be viewed as the postseason of Cody Ross. The 29-year-old Ross has had a postseason to remember, hitting a combined .350 (7-for-20) with four home runs and six RBIs in six postseason games so far, including three homers in the National League Championship Series. But just because the series has moved from the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park to spacious AT&T Park, don't expect Ross to cool off. He's 9-for-30 with four home runs and six RBIs against Game 3 starter Cole Hamels. Not bad numbers for a player who the Giants were awarded off waivers on Aug. 22. "I can't say surprised. I mean, this kid, he's a good player," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's a good hitter -- he's got some pitches to hit and he hasn't missed them. But he's shown that he is a good hitter. ... Like all hitters, when they get in a nice streak, they're going to do some damage, and that's the type of player he is."
Going out a winner priority for Renteria
SAN FRANCISCO -- Fifteen years ago, Edgar Renteria burst onto the scene as a hot-shot rookie shortstop with Florida, finishing second in the 1996 National League Rookie of the Year Award voting.A year later, he etched his name into baseball lore with a game-winning hit in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series. Now, as the 34-year-old Renteria battles his latest bump in an injury-filled year -- a completely torn left biceps, which occurred in Game 2 of the NL Division Series against Atlanta -- there have been published reports about Renteria considering retirement following the season. On Tuesday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he had spoken with Renteria regarding the shortstop's future, but opted to keep the conversations private. Still, Bochy said he appreciates what Renteria has done in his past two seasons with San Francisco, and knows Renteria would like to go out the same way he came in -- as a winner. "We did talk about what his plans are, and it's been a tough year for him with the injuries," Bochy said. "I will say through all those, he's worked hard to get back to helping us. And, of course, the bicep situation came up. But he's worked through that. And he feels great right now. He's been through it. "I can't tell you what his plans are, but I will say he wants to go out winning. That's the type of player he is. He's got a ring. He's done something we all would dream of doing, and that's get a base hit to win the World Series. I know, having been there, he'd like to get there again."
Giants eager for fan support on home swing
SAN FRANCISCO -- Players aren't the only ones who have had to deal with long layoffs during the postseason. San Franciscans haven't hosted a baseball game since Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Oct. 8 against Atlanta.That will all change Tuesday afternoon, when the Giants and Phillies square off in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series. The Giants posted a 49-32 on the shores of McCovey Cove this season and are eager to once again play at AT&T Park in front of their faithful fans. "It's always good to be home playing in front of your fans," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They've done a lot for us down the stretch here. The San Diego series, we lost two games, but they were right behind us in that last game, as loud as ever. "I think any team in the postseason will tell you it's good to be home and have your fans behind it."
Cash Kruth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.