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SD@SF: Lincecum completes his second no-hitter

The Cardinals can't seem to catch a break when it comes to starting pitching.

With three-fifths of its rotation already in the infirmary, St. Louis will face a third pitcher with a no-hitter this season in the span of five games.

After losing to Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw this past weekend, the Cardinals will be looking to have better luck against Tim Lincecum on Tuesday night.

"It's tough to put that on our pitching staff, but when you face a couple guys throwing the ball like these guys are, that's what we need," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

Fresh off the second no-hitter of his career, Lincecum is 5-1 with a 2.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Cardinals.

As of late, Lincecum hasn't fared as well though. He hasn't faced the Cardinals since 2011, but he's been hit for nine runs in 11 2/3 innings over his past two starts against St. Louis.

Still, Matheny knows the Cardinals can't count on those results against a pitcher who is coming off arguably the finest start of his career.

"You're looking up at those leaderboards and you're seeing some names we're going to be facing soon," Matheny said. "We're going to have to have a special outing on our part."

But ultimately, he feels these challenges are why his players play the game.

"To me, that's what they should be begging for every day, these opportunities to come and match up against whoever the name is on the other side," Matheny said. "That's what our guys should be waiting for, an opportunity to square up against them."

Cardinals: Gonzales survives daunting first test
The Cardinals said all along that they were calling up Marco Gonzales to face the Rockies because of his Minor League track record, not because of his familiarly with Denver's altitude.

Though he wasn't able to replicate his 2.33 ERA from Double-A in his Major League debut at Coors Field on Wednesday, the Cardinals were still proud of what they saw from the native of Fort Collins, Colo.

"I don't think we could have constructed a tougher test, all things considered," Matheny said. "We didn't necessarily label it that to him or any of you as he came into it, but we were all very aware of the challenges that came into it … I like how he handled everything."

Gonzales was cruising along before the Rockies sent all nine batters to the plate in the fourth inning. Colorado would get to him for five runs that inning, and he'd finish his debut with seven hits and two walks against three strikeouts in five innings.

As Gonzales hopes for betters results Tuesday, the organization remains certain he's the man for the job.

"It wasn't, 'Let's see the toughest test we can give this poor kid,'" Matheny said. "It was, 'We need help. He's the right guy right now.'"

Giants: Posey back in a big way
Buster Posey was battling back problems all season until the Giants' schedule allowed him a unique recovery opportunity.

Sandwiched inside two off-days last week was a two-game set in Chicago against the White Sox. To get a break from the rigors of catching, Posey was in the designated hitter role the first game. He then sprinkled in some time at first in Game 2 before starting at first in the series opener against the D-backs after the second off-day.

Since catching that break, Posey has been able to fully regain his form, and the Giants have taken notice. Posey only had 10 extra-base hits in April and May but will finish June with 12. He also hit safely in 21 of the 25 games he's played this month, finishing with a .362 average (34-for-94).

"The added rest we could give him on that last road trip helped the back calm down," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It seems like he's over that, knock on wood. He's been a different player. This game is hard enough to play. When you have back issues, you can't be the same hitter if you've got any kind of back issues."

Worth noting
• Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams sat out Sunday against Clayton Kershaw to avoid the lefty-lefty matchup but is expected back in the lineup Tuesday.

• Cardinals reliever Nick Greenwood is also expected to be available Tuesday after a 53-pitch appearance Saturday.

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