It’s getting hairy in San Francisco

Judging by the way he’s pitched lately, Tim Lincecum would seem like an ideal candidate to help the injury-plagued San Francisco Giants match their longest win streak in the past three weeks.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner, though, hasn’t been successful in most of his recent outings against the Atlanta Braves, who will try to add to their NL wild-card lead by winning this four-game series Thursday night.

After earning one win over a seven-game stretch, Lincecum (11-9, 2.58 ERA) is 5-2 with a 1.16 ERA over his last seven and tossed a two-hitter with 10 strikeouts Saturday against Florida. The 3-0 win helped the right-hander improve to 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA over his last four road starts.

That success has made for a better August experience for Lincecum, who was 0-5 with a 7.82 ERA during the month in 2010. Heading into this season, he had a 7-8 career mark in August, his only month with a losing record.

“These are the dog days and he’s in better shape,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s not easy to go out there in this heat and throw the ball the way he did but because he’s gotten himself in better shape. He’s having a great August, probably his best August.”

A true test of Lincecum’s improvement might come against the Braves (72-52), who have won three of the last four matchups against the right-hander and hold a five-game lead over the Giants in the wild-card race.

Lincecum has a 5.11 ERA over those four games against Atlanta and is 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA in his past two starts at Turner Field.

In his previous matchup April 23, Lincecum set a career high by walking six and gave up five runs over 6 1-3 innings during a 5-2 defeat.

A better outing from their ace might help the Giants to consecutive victories for the second time since July 28. San Francisco (67-57) is 6-13 in its last 19 with Lincecum claiming two of those victories.

The Giants earned another win Wednesday by scoring four runs in the fourth inning and moved within 2 1/2 games of Arizona in the NL West. Before that 7-5 victory, closer Brian Wilson flew to Florida and reliever Sergio Romo headed to San Francisco to have their ailing right elbows examined. Without those two pitchers, the Giants gave up four runs in the ninth inning.

“I think we won,” manager Bruce Bochy quipped. “Just when you think you have a chance to cross your legs for a second, we’re facing the tying run up there.”

Atlanta’s Mike Minor (2-2, 4.84) will try to earn his third consecutive win and second since being recalled from the minors Aug. 6.

Minor earned one of those victories Friday as he gave up three runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 10-4 rout of Chicago. He hasn’t won consecutive starts since claiming three in a row last August.

“I obviously know it’s going to be a hard, tough game because the offense is probably not going to score that many runs against a guy like (Lincecum),” Minor told the team’s official website. “I think it’s going to be the same mentality. Going after hitters. I’m not going to pitch any differently.”

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