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MIA@SF: Nolasco hurls 7 1/3 strong innings

Ricky Nolasco insists he doesn't have a secret formula for pitching in AT&T Park. His gaudy numbers there -- 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA and a 0.80 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) in four starts -- might suggest otherwise.

The Miami right-hander takes the ball again in San Francisco on Friday for the second game of a four-game set after the Marlins notched a 2-1 victory Thursday -- their eighth straight win on the Giants' home turf.

"If I knew what it was, I'd try to do it in every ballpark," Nolasco said of his success. "They're a very good team. The atmosphere here is really good. You know that going in, and that works to your favor. It's a pitchers' park."

It's a long shot, but Nolasco could become the first Marlins pitcher ever to record 1,000 career strikeouts. He would need 13 on Friday night. Historically, if there's any team against whom he could do it, it would seem to be the Giants. That's not how he sees it, though.

"I'm not going to try to jinx myself," Nolasco said. "I'm going to try to keep making quality pitches and getting guys out as quickly as possible."

Opposite Nolasco is Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum, who, despite a quality start in his most recent outing, picked up the loss Sunday against Atlanta. In fact, Lincecum (4-7, 4.57 ERA) has now earned a loss in five of his last six starts.

Still, he's won 76 games since 2008 -- his first full season -- which is the most in the Major Leagues during that time.

Another victory Friday could move the Giants within a game of first place in the National League West. They sit two behind the D-backs, who host Cincinnati.

Marlins: Stanton nostalgic
A native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Giancarlo Stanton had a couple of family members at the ballpark Thursday.

"Just having my brother and dad here, it's little things like that that bring me back to when I was 5, 10, 12, sitting in the stands, too," he said. "It's the same game."

• Henderson Alvarez will throw a rehab-assignment game for Double-A Jacksonville on Saturday. Alvarez, on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, will likely make one more rehab start after the outing before he will be considered for reinstatement.

Giants: Sandoval set for rehab
San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval will start his rehab with Class A San Jose on Friday -- a day earlier than expected after the club was impressed with his Thursday workout.

If all goes smoothly, Sandoval (strained left foot) will likely be reinstated from the 15-day DL on Monday in Los Angeles.

Worth noting
• Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has just six hits in 26 at-bats against Nolasco -- but four of them are homers. Andres Torres, Gregor Blanco and Buster Posey have also had success against the right-hander, as each sports a batting average above .350.

• The Marlins haven't lost a series in San Francisco since they dropped two of three in July 2009.

• The Giants have looked sharp against their divisional rivals, going 22-12. But in games against the rest of baseball, they've pieced together just a 15-23 mark.

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