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Posted at 07:07 AM ET, 08/29/2011

Leading off: Scuffling Giants need wins against the Cubs

Game of the day: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco, 10:15 p.m. The Giants have fallen four games out of first place for the first time since early May, and things are starting to get hairy for the defending World Series champions. San Francisco went 4-5 in its last nine games against the lowly Astros and Padres, and it needs to earn some wins against an inferior Cubs team this week before the first-place Diamondbacks come to town over the weekend. Ace right-hander Tim Lincecum (12-10) will pitch the series opener Monday, going for his 10th consecutive start allowing two earned runs or fewer. San Francisco is just 6-3 in Lincecum’s last nine starts, and has scored more than three runs only twice. Right-hander Randy Wells (5-4) is scheduled to pitch for the Cubs, who have won his past three starts.

Other game to watch:

Philadelphia at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. The Phillies are just 6-6 since they completed a torrid 12-1 stretch earlier this month, and they have only played one game since Wednesday thanks to Hurricane Irene. Left-hander Cole Hamels (13-7) will make his first start since Aug. 12 on Monday after he missed two turns in the rotation with shoulder inflammation. Hamels will face a stiff test in a Reds offense that has scored the fourth-most runs in the major leagues this season. Cincinnati – winner of six of its last seven games – will send Homer Bailey (7-5) to the mound, looking to climb two games over .500 for the first time since June 29.

Games you should have seen:

Cincinnati 5, Washington 4 (14 innings) . Joey Votto hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 14th inning to hand the Nationals their sixth consecutive loss. Yonder Alonso had forced extra innings with a game-tying, pinch-hit home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth after Jayson Werth gave the Nats a 4-3 lead with an RBI single in the top of the ninth. Jay Bruce also homered for the Reds, who played their fourth one-run game out of their last five.

Houston 4, San Francisco 3 (11 innings) . The Astros surrendered a one-run lead in the bottom of the 10th inning, but Matt Downs hit an RBI single in the top of the 11th to help Houston earn a four-game split against the Giants. Carlos Lee and Jimmy Paredes each went 3 for 4 for Houston, which became the first team to lose 90 games this season on Saturday. Carlos Beltran and Aubrey Huff each had multi-hit games for the Giants.

Stat you should know: 33. Regular season games the Phillies still have to play in 31 days beginning Monday. After two of their three games against the Marlins this weekend were postponed, Philadelphia has no more remaining days off and two doubleheaders between now and the last day of the season Sept. 28.

Star of the day: Diamondbacks right-hander Ian Kennedy became the first 17-game winner in the National League on Sunday when Arizona beat the Padres, 6-1. Kennedy allowed one run on six hits over seven innings pitched, picking up his ninth victory in his last 10 starts.

Chatter: “We can’t call the commissioner and ask for a month off.” – Indians Manager Manny Acta, whose injury-riddled club was missing five regulars Sunday during its 2-1 loss to Kansas City.

By Greg Schimmel  |  07:07 AM ET, 08/29/2011

Categories:  Baseball Insider

 
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