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COL@MIA: Nolasco fans six over six solid innings

When the Giants and Marlins played a three-game series in San Francisco earlier this month, a combined 13 runs were scored between the two teams. Given that statistic, many expected the current four-game series between the clubs to play out in a similar fashion, with pitchers getting the better part of the hitters.

Yet it has been anything but that in this series thus far. Through the first three games, the last two of which were won by the Marlins, a combined 42 runs have been scored. The Giants opened the series with a 14-7 win on Thursday before the Marlins won Friday and Saturday by scores of 7-6 and 5-3, respectively.

The two clubs will finish off their four-game set Sunday, with Matt Cain (4-2, 2.94 ERA) matching up against Ricky Nolasco (5-2, 4.31).

In 10 career starts against the Marlins, Cain is 3-3 with a 3.16 ERA. Nolasco is 5-2 with a 1.56 ERA in seven career starts against San Francisco.

In Nolasco's last outing, he allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings and got the win against the Rockies. With the victory, Nolasco broke the club record for career wins with 69, passing Dontrelle Willis.

Thus far, hitting has overshadowed the pitching in this series. Will it continue on Sunday?

"Both teams are hitting better than we thought," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said before Saturday's game. "Those guys swing the bat good. That [Melky] Cabrera guy, my god, I don't see anybody hotter than that kid the last few weeks, especially against us. [Angel] Pagan, he leads the league in bloopers -- they'll count, they count."

Giants: Bochy behind struggling ace
Despite Tim Lincecum's 2012 struggles, manager Bruce Bochy expressed confidence in the Giants' 27-year-old ace who has two Cy Young Awards to his name. Lincecum is 2-5 with a 6.41 ERA in 2012, and San Francisco has lost eight of his 10 starts.

In Friday's 7-6 loss to the Marlins, Lincecum surrendered six runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five but issued four walks.

"He threw the ball well. ... He has to keep working, which he's doing," Bochy said. "We're all in with him and he needs to know that."

Marlins: Guillen gives Bell another vote of confidence before Saturday's game
Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen showed his support for closer Heath Bell before Saturday's game, the day after pulling him with one out in the ninth inning in a 7-6 win over the Giants. After entering the contest with a three-run lead, Bell allowed two runs on three hits in just one-third of an inning.

However, Guillen wondered about Bell's pitch selection. With a 2-1 count, Bell threw Joaquin Arias a breaking ball for a ball. Arias worked a full count before hitting a rally-sparking double.

Bell, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason, has converted just seven of his 11 save opportunities this season.

"I'm going to go out there and do the best I can," Bell said before Saturday's game.

He stood behind his decision to throw the 1-2 breaking ball to Arias.

"I don't feel like I'm going to lose my job," Bell said. "The only thing I can say is, to his credit, I have not earned my right in a Marlins uniform to get myself out of the jam. I've gotten myself out of many jams in the past, but I haven't earned that right in a Marlins uniform yet.

"Am I unhappy with what happened, that I got pulled? Yes, because I feel like I'm a better pitcher than that. I feel like I could get myself out, but I have to understand that I have not proven yet this year that I can do that, so I just got to bite my tongue."

In Saturday's 5-3 win, Bell struggled yet again, allowing a run on one hit with two walks in just one-third of an inning before being taken out in favor of Randy Choate, who earned his first save of the year.

Worth noting
• Through the first six games of the season series between these two clubs, the Marlins have won five times.

• Cain-Nolasco was also the matchup in the May 1 meeting, a duel that ended in a 2-1 Marlins win. Nolasco earned the victory in that game after allowing just one run on seven hits in 7 1/3 innings. Cain took the loss after pitching eight innings in which he surrendered just two runs on six hits.

• Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton continued his great month Saturday, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. Stanton, who has hit 10 of his 11 home runs in May, raised his average to .296.

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