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ARI@SF: Lincecum fans six over seven scoreless frames

Tim Lincecum's confidence is back, and with it have come his Cy Young-caliber performances of yesteryear.

He's had good command of his fastball, spotted his breaking balls and effectively worked both sides of the plate en route to allowing just one earned run in 30 1/3 innings over his last four outings.

The 30-year-old was the lone bright spot in the Giants' tumultuous month-long slide, but after two victories in two post-All-Star-break games, it appears the rest of the team may be rediscovering its groove. A win Sunday would give the Giants their first sweep since blanking the Mets in a three-game set June 6-8, the last series before the slump began.

Lincecum's May 17 start against the Marlins was nothing special; he was charged with the loss and allowed three runs in six innings.

He is 2-2 with a 3.83 ERA in six career starts against Miami. He was tagged for six runs in 5 2/3 innings in his only appearance in Marlins Park, on May 25, 2012.

He'll be opposed by Brad Hand, who is being given another opportunity to show he can be part of Miami's rotation.

The left-hander has had his struggles, both as a reliever and a starter. In five starts, he is 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA and 1.89 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched). He has a 4.58 ERA and 1.58 WHIP as a reliever.

The 24-year-old has upside, but he also has to show he belongs in the rotation.

"These guys right now, they're pitching to help us win ballgames," Miami manager Mike Redmond said. "We've given guys a lot of opportunities and continuous opportunities. They need to produce."

Hand made his last start in the final game before the All-Star break. The lefty took the loss, giving up three runs on six hits in four innings against the Mets. He was struck on the right shin by a comeback grounder in the fourth inning.

In his career, Hand has made two relief appearances against the Giants, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

Marlins: Yelich staying hot
Since coming off the disabled list June 29, Christian Yelich has been hot. The left fielder enters Sunday's game with a 12-game hitting streak, and he's had seven multi-hit games in that stretch.

Yelich, 22, is in his first full Major League season. He ranks third in the National League in triples with six.

"He's a special player," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's going to be here a long time. I love watching him play. He's only going to get better."

He's had some inconsistencies, yet is putting it together in the leadoff spot. Through ups and downs, Yelich has remained on an even keel.

"The great part about him is he's remained the same," Redmond said. "He's got the same attitude, the same approach. This is a big year for him to get comfortable playing every single day, understanding what it takes."

Giants: Panik getting comfortable in two-hole
Before Friday's 9-1 rout of the Marlins, Giants rookie Joe Panik returned to the No. 2 spot in the lineup for the first time since July 7 and looked a lot more comfortable than he has in his short tenure in the big leagues.

Panik was 2-for-5 at the plate, which manager Bruce Bochy sees as evidence of the rookie's progression.

"It seems like he's much more relaxed now," Bochy said before Saturday's game. "That's always a good start, especially to start the second half."

Panik has impressed Bochy with his glove as well; he's made a handful of diving stops and has combined to make a formidable double-play tandem with shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Panik was in the two-hole again Saturday -- that will probably be a trend for a while, with Hunter Pence leading off and Brandon Belt moving to the bottom half of the order.

Worth noting
• The Marlins have lost their last six games and their last three series.

• The Giants are 39-11 when they score the game's first run and 15-32 when they don't. Comments