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PHI@SF: Bochy on Lincecum's rhythm after the 5-2 loss

As Giants ace Tim Lincecum endures one of the toughest stretches in the his impressive career, the Mets will look to be the next club to take advantage of the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner's recent troubles.

The right-hander has allowed 16 runs in three starts this season, the most of any three-game stretch in his six-year career, leaving him 0-2 with a 10.54 ERA. Lincecum has already allowed nine runs in the first innings of games this year, compared to just eight all of last season.

On Sunday, Lincecum will take on a Mets club which broke a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory on Saturday. The Giants have won seven of their past 11.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy says there's no reason to panic about Lincecum's slow start.

"I don't care how much time you've had in this game," Bochy said. "You like success, whether it's Spring Training or two or three games of a small sample size. You don't like to not throw the ball well. Even veterans experience it. Good hitters go into slumps."

He will be going up against fellow right-hander Dillon Gee, who is coming off one of the best starts of his career in Monday's 6-1 win over the Braves. Gee struck out five while scattering four hits and one run in seven innings.

When considering his pitching staff's success early on, Mets manager Terry Collins credits not just his pitchers, but the catchers they're throwing to.

"Our catchers have done a really good job of taking part and taking some ownership in the gameplanning, which I think has made a big difference," Collins said. "I think the pitchers are now understanding it -- you don't see as many shakes in certain situations. I think, between innings, there is more conversation between the pitchers and the catchers, so that the next inning they got a little bit better idea of how they want to attack the hitters."

Gee, 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA in two starts this season, has never started against the Giants.

Giants: Panda streaking
• San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval has hit safely in all 14 games this season -- the longest active streak in the NL. Sandoval is batting .333 (19-for-57) with two homers and 10 RBIs.

• Bochy said Saturday he doesn't believe Lincecum is having any mechanical issues with his delivery.

"I thought his last game was pretty good," Bochy said. "Sure, the first inning was rough, but he had better command and his stuff was fine. We made a mistake there in the first inning and it kind of led to the crooked number, but he's got to look at the last five innings and hopefully build some confidence from that. It's more confidence than anything with Timmy right now."

Mets: Hot at the top
• Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis went 0-for-5 on Saturday, but still has a hit in seven of his past eight games and is hitting .357 (10-for-28) over that span. He has also scored at least one run in four of the past five games, six runs total.

• Saturday was the first game this season that Mets third baseman David Wright did not reach base safely at least twice. That was the longest such stretch to start a season in club history.

His 10-game hitting streak to start the season was also snapped.

Worth noting
• The Giants have won each of their past three series (at Colorado, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Philadelphia) after being swept in the season-opening series at Arizona.

• The Mets started the season 4-0 at home, but are just 1-3 at Citi Field since then.

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