San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum rests in the...

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum rests in the dugout after throwing in the first inning of their baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in San Francisco. (April 23, 2011) Credit: AP

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum's tough day began with back-to-back walks, the first two of what became a career-high six overall.

The Giants ace doesn't yet look like himself, the offense is equally as inconsistent and the World Series champions are still trying to find themselves during a difficult opening month.

Lincecum was outpitched by Tim Hudson, Atlanta leadoff man Martin Prado drove in his team's first three runs and the Braves handed San Francisco its third straight loss with a 5-2 win yesterday.

"It's early, just a half of the first month of the season," Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval said. "We're fighting, trying to put all the pieces together."

Hudson (3-2) followed up Tommy Hanson's strong outing a night earlier with his own impressive performance in a matchup of two undersized, hard-throwing righties.

Hudson came within one out of a complete game. He allowed nine hits, struck out four and didn't walk a batter in an efficient, 112-pitch outing.

Lincecum (2-2) was tagged for five runs and six hits in 61/3 innings after he carried a no-hit bid into the eighth Monday at Colorado. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner allowed his most earned runs since also giving up five last Aug. 15 against San Diego during a career-worst, five-start losing streak.

"You can't accept pretty good results when you walk six guys," Lincecum said. "It's almost like a guy's on every inning. Obviously, you're not helping yourself or your team with a back-against-the-wall kind of situation. Today was one of those situations where I did it to myself."

Lincecum was handed only his third loss in nine career starts against Atlanta.-- AP

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