Whether the Giants beat Atlanta on Sunday, though, might depend on whether Tim Lincecum can regain his form after a pair of lackluster outings.
Scutaro, the MVP of last year's NL championship series, is batting .488 (21 for 43) during an 11-game hit streak and had his fifth consecutive multihit performance in a 10-1 win Saturday. Gregor Blanco also drove in a career-high four runs as San Francisco (22-15) earned its ninth victory in 12 attempts and sixth on its homestand.
"It's more of a case that (Scutaro is) healthy," manager Bruce Bochy told the team's website. "That back issue's not there right now. He got that cleared up, and it freed him up and he's back to feeling the way he felt last year when he was swinging good, and that's 100 percent."
The Giants will conclude their 10-game stay at AT&T Park on Sunday hoping Lincecum (2-2, 4.75 ERA) can get back on track.
The right-hander has given up five runs in each of his last two outings after giving up a combined two in his previous two starts.
"That's definitely frustrating, just the lack of consistency, making a great pitch and then not repeating it," he told the team's website.
A matchup with the Braves (21-15) wouldn't appear to help his woes - he's 0-4 with a 4.38 ERA in his last four regular-season matchups.
Lincecum, however, pitched a two-hit shutout against Atlanta over that same stretch in the 2010 division series opener and has given up a combined four runs in the last two overall meetings. He allowed three over five innings in a 7-1 loss in San Francisco on Aug. 26, his only matchup with the Braves last season.
Lincecum has received zero runs of support in those past two games against Atlanta and a combined three in those four regular-season defeats.
In this one, he'll pitch opposite Kris Medlen (1-4, 3.25), who has lost three straight decisions but was solid in his most recent outing. The right-hander allowed two runs over seven innings against Cincinnati on Tuesday but did not get a decision.
Closer Craig Kimbrel gave up two runs in the ninth inning in a 5-4 loss that denied Medlen his first win since April 9.
"I was using both sides of the plate really for the first time this year consistently, throwing in and out for strikes," Medlen told the team's website. "That's the best I've felt."
Medlen lost his only start against the Giants on May 26, 2009, and Pablo Sandoval has two doubles and a home run in four career at-bats against him. Scutaro, batting .370 (10 for 27) in his last seven games versus Atlanta, has never faced the right-hander.
Brian McCann , who has a 13-game hit streak against the Giants, is 10 for 29 (.345) lifetime against Lincecum, the best showing by any active player who has faced him at least 29 times. McCann is also batting .330 in San Francisco over his career.
Since winning Thursday's series opener, the Braves have a combined 10 hits and been outscored 18-3 in their back-to-back defeats.
|May 05, 2013||Juan Francisco||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|April 25, 2013||Luis Ayala||15-Day DL||Anxiety disorder|
|April 23, 2013||Jason Heyward||Day-to-Day||Appendectomy|
|April 21, 2013||Jason Heyward||15-Day DL||Appendectomy|
|April 20, 2013||Dan Uggla||Day-to-Day||Left game - left calf strain|
|April 20, 2013||Blake DeWitt||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|San Francisco Giants|
|May 08, 2013||Santiago Casilla||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee|
|May 04, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|April 15, 2013||Jeremy Affeldt||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|April 15, 2013||Jeremy Affeldt||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|April 13, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Right wrist soreness|
|March 22, 2013||Brett Pill||15-Day DL||Recovery from minor knee surgery|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- With all the ups and downs in recent seasons, including his demotion to the bullpen for the playoffs, Tim Lincecum can appreciate the strong starts when most everything goes right - reminding himself, from his own experiences, how quickly things change.
Backed by solo home runs from Pablo Sandoval , Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro , Lincecum looked in his best form so far in 2013 as the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Sunday to wrap up an impressive homestand.
Lincecum (3-2) struck out seven in seven scoreless innings to end a three-start winless stretch in which he went 0-2. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner also stopped a four-start skid against Atlanta, beating the Braves for the first time since April 11, 2010.
"I'll take it," Lincecum said. "But I'm not jumping up in the air right now. ... I'm happy about it, but it's still a work in progress. I'm still working to get better."
Belt hit a solo homer in the second, Sandoval connected in the third and Scutaro went deep leading off the fifth. Gregor Blanco had an RBI double.
Brandon Crawford added an RBI single in the fourth for the Giants, who concluded a 7-3 homestand. San Francisco won a home series against the NL East for the first time since April last year.
Sandoval's two-out drive in the third cleared the elevated right-field arcade and found the water in McCovey Cove, setting off a kayaking commotion in a frenzy to retrieve the souvenir ball.
"Any time Pablo's got a smile on his face it's hard for the whole team not to jump on that energy and feed off it," Lincecum said.
It was the 63rd splash homer by the Giants - home run king Barry Bonds has 35 - seventh by Kung Fu Panda and second for San Francisco this year. There have been 89 in the 14-season history of AT&T Park, including one by the Braves' Brian McCann on Friday night.
"My wife asked me to hit a home run into the water for her for Mother's Day," Braves starter Kris Medlen joked. "I must have misunderstood her, and gave up a home run that went into the water."
In just his third quality start in eight outings, Lincecum allowed a season-low two hits after being tagged for 19 over his previous two appearances. Giants closer Sergio Romo , San Francisco's fourth reliever, allowed an RBI double to pinch-hitter Evan Gattis for Atlanta's lone run.
Lincecum said he chatted with the other starters after his last outing about getting back on track collectively as a rotation.
"It's just kind of one of those things, we kick each other in the (rear end),"' he said after a 111-pitch performance. "It's just, here we go, this is the start of something hopefully good."
The NL West-leading Giants make a quick, two-game stop starting Tuesday in Toronto, where former San Francisco outfielder Melky Cabrera will receive his World Series ring for contributions last season before his 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test.
San Francisco then heads to Coors Field in Denver for four games against the Rockies.
"It's not going to be easy travel for these guys," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We get into Colorado late, but that's part of the schedule."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez rejoined his team after two days away to attend his daughter Gigi's college graduation in Georgia. But Atlanta lost its third straight since taking the opener Thursday night - outscored 23-4 over the final three games.
"We haven't been real fun to watch right now," Gonzalez said. "What did we score, four runs the past couple games? They have a good club and any time we made a mistake they took advantage. We didn't get much of anything going until the end when we scored a run."
The Braves continue their 10-game trip at Arizona, where left fielder Justin Upton will face his former Diamondbacks teammates.
Medlen (1-5) lost his fourth straight decision and saw his winless stretch reach six outings since his lone victory his first time out this year, April 4 against the Phillies.
The right-hander allowed five runs, three earned, walked a season-high five and struck out one in 5 1-3 innings.
Umpires went to a replay review after Scutaro's fly ball in the sixth was interfered with by a fan, preventing a possible catch by Upton. It was ruled a double, giving Scutaro six straight multihit games during his 12-game hitting streak.
NOTES: Lincecum went seven or more innings allowing two or fewer hits for the first time since Aug. 13, 2011, at the Marlins. "It looked nasty from my perspective," Belt said. ... Bochy on all the pink bats, sleeves, cleats and wristbands for breast cancer awareness on Mother's Day: "It's a great day for all of us to have a chance to honor our mothers, and really for me to reflect back and realize how blessed I was to have such a great mother, not just in raising me but she was a big part of my baseball life, with my father being in the service," he said. His mother, Melrose, died in March 2007. ... Bochy hadn't decided on his designated hitter for the two games against the Blue Jays.