(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Francisco Giants will hit the road for the next seven games, starting with Thursday's opener of a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
The Giants will also visit the Cincinnati Reds and just went 5-1 on a recent homestand versus the Minnesota Twins and Chicago Cubs. The NL West-leading Giants won the series with the Cubs by posting a 5-0 win on Wednesday, as Tim Lincecum fired five hitless, scoreless innings for the no-decision and George Kontos tossed 1 1/3 innings of relief for the win.
Lincecum threw 96 pitches -- just 52 for strikes -- walked four batters and hit another. He struck out five. The righty threw 148 pitches in his first career no-hitter last July 13 against the Padres in San Diego. But Giants manager Bruce Bochy said there was "no chance" Lincecum was going to be able to finish Wednesday's game.
"He worked hard and had great stuff but he was starting to develop a blister and there were concerns with that," said Bochy.
"When you're close to 100 pitches after five innings, that's a lot of work. ... There was no doubt he was going to come out at some point."
Hector Sanchez drove in a pair of runs and both Pablo Sandoval and Tyler Colvin had an RBI apiece for San Francisco, which owns the best record in the major leagues at 34-19.
Ryan Vogelsong gets the nod for the Giants Thursday and is aiming for his third straight win. He has won back-to-back starts and is 3-1 in his past four decisions. Vogelsong hasn't allowed a run in each of his previous two outings and threw 6 2/3 shutout innings in Saturday's 2-1 win over Minnesota, pushing his record to 3-2 in 10 starts with a 3.20 earned run average.
Vogelsong, a right-hander, has a 2-5 record and a 6.71 ERA in 17 career meetings (7 starts) with the Cardinals.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals lost two of three matchups with the New York Yankees at Busch Stadium and are coming off Wednesday's 7-4 setback.
Cardinals starting pitcher Shelby Miller was torched for all seven runs and nine hits in five innings. Kolten Wong had four hits and an RBI for the Cardinals, who are still 10-4 in their last 14 games.
"They were just on everything. You just didn't see a lot of bad swings. The damage was done," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I don't have a good explanation for it and I don't think he (Miller) does either."
Matt Holliday, who singled in the third inning, has reached base safely in each of the first 24 games at Busch Stadium this season.
The Cardinals will also host Kansas City on this homestand.
Jaime Garcia will make his third start of the season Thursday and has a 1-0 record and a 4.26 ERA. Garcia won his first game of the season in Saturday's 6-3 victory at Cincinnati, as he limited the Reds to two runs in 5 2/3 frames.
Garcia, a left-hander, has made four career starts against San Francisco, going 2-1 with a 1.27 ERA across 28 1/3 innings.
St. Louis and San Francisco are meeting for the first time this season and the Cardinals took four of six matchups in 2013.