Giants get help

Six-time All-Star Carlos Beltran could be in the San Francisco Giants’ lineup Thursday night for the decisive series finale against the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Giants have not announced their starting pitcher in this spot, so don’t forget to check the SportsOptions odds product for the opening line and total.

San Francisco (59-44) at Philadelphia (65-37), 7:05 p.m. EDT

The San Francisco Giants are getting the offensive help that could significantly increase their chances of successfully defending their World Series title.

Six-time All-Star Carlos Beltran could be in the Giants’ lineup Thursday night for the decisive series finale against the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

The NL West-leading Giants (60-44) acquired the slugger from the New York Mets after Beltran approved the trade Wednesday. San Francisco is expected to send prized pitching prospect Zachary Wheeler to New York in return. Beltran is in the final year of a $119 million deal he signed with the Mets before the 2005 season. The Mets reportedly will pay as much as $4 million of the $6.5 million left on his contract.

“Having a guy like Beltran, obviously, adds a lot of positive energy,” said All-Star Brian Wilson, who recorded his major league-leading 32nd save in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Philadelphia.

Beltran is batting .289 with 15 homers, 66 RBIs and a .513 slugging percentage, and he leads the NL with 30 doubles. He would certainly help the Giants, who rank near the bottom of the majors with a .241 batting average and 66 home runs.

“Our offense has been inconsistent and we need some help,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official website. “There was a little sense of urgency to see if we could do something to help this offense get going.

“Carlos has all the tools that you look for in a player.”

Though he is batting .337 with five homers and 22 RBIs his last 24 games, Beltran has hit .200 (4 for 20) with three RBIs at Citizens Bank Park this season.

The Giants hope Beltran’s presence will help them catch the Phillies (65-38), who own the best record in the majors. Without him, Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz each drove in runs and Matt Cain pitched seven solid innings after Tim Lincecum was scratched from his scheduled start because of an illness.

Bochy hopes Lincecum (8-8, 2.90 ERA) is strong enough to pitch Thursday. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is 2-1 with a 3.17 ERA in seven regular-season outings against the Phillies. He went 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts versus Philadelphia in the 2010 NL championship series before pitching in relief in the pennant-clinching win Oct. 23.

If Lincecum is unable to pitch, fellow All-Star Ryan Vogelsong (8-1, 2.10) could start on regular rest. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 10 starts since losing to Florida on May 26. He labored Sunday, but allowed two runs in five innings of a 4-2 win over Milwaukee.

Vogelsong is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts against the Phillies, but has not faced them as a starter since 2004 with Pittsburgh.

Dominic Brown drove in the lone run and had one of the four hits Wednesday for the Phillies, who have dropped two of three after winning five in a row.

“Any time you play the Giants with that pitching, it figures to be low scoring,” Wednesday’s loser Cole Hamels said.

Scheduled Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick (5-4, 3.45 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.63 ERA his last three starts – all Philadelphia wins. He allowed three runs on a pair of homers in 5 2-3 innings and did not factor in an 8-6 win over San Diego on Saturday.

In the right-hander’s only previous start versus San Francisco on May 2, 2008, Kendrick gave up three runs in six innings of a 6-5, 10-inning win.

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