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06/12/12 10:02 PM ET

Melky returns to lineup for opener; Pagan sits

SAN FRANCISCO -- Melky Cabrera returned to the Giants' lineup for Tuesday's opener against the Astros, while Angel Pagan got a day off.

Cabrera was back in action after sitting out the three-game series with the Rangers over the weekend after straining his right hamstring last Thursday while stealing second base against the Padres. Bruce Bochy said Cabrera came to the ballpark on Monday's day off to run sprints, which was enough for the Giants' skipper to pencil the outfielder into the No. 3 spot in the lineup and in left field on Tuesday.

"It means a lot to have your No. 3 hitter [back] who is coming off an incredible month," Bochy said. "He really has inspired the lineup in ways that they've really started swinging the bats better."

Bochy said he had been planning on giving Pagan a day off earlier, but Cabrera's injury postponed Pagan's rest day.

"I was hoping to give him Sunday off, so I would give him Sunday and Monday off, but with Melky not being able to play and [Pagan] was good to go on Sunday -- so that would give us Tuesday off with Angel, now that Melky can play," Bochy said.

Nate Schierholtz got the start in right field, with Gregor Blanco shifting over to center.

Pagan had been playing through muscular pain around his stomach, which Bochy said was minor and improving.

"He's got a little issue going there, but it's doing well," Bochy said. "He says he feels great, but I'd already set the lineup up and had Angel off today to give him two days."

"It's calmed down," Bochy added. "He's been playing with it for a while. He's fine, and we're hoping to give him the couple days so it'll calm down even more."

Giants staying course with struggling Lincecum

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy met with general manager Brian Sabean before Tuesday's game against the Astros, discussing the best course of action with struggling pitcher Tim Lincecum.

Bochy said that Lincecum won't be skipping a start or moving to the bullpen, and will be making his next scheduled start against the Mariners this weekend.

"Right now, the best thing is to keep throwing him out there," Bochy said.

The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner has yet to break out of his season-long struggles, allowing five earned runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Rangers on Sunday. Lincecum is 2-7 with a 6.00 ERA this season.

"Brian and I talk a lot about a lot of things, including Timmy," Bochy said. "We talked about ways we can maybe help Timmy, any thoughts or what would be the best thing to help Timmy."

Having Lincecum sit for a scheduled start or make a bullpen appearance wouldn't be out of the ordinary for the Giants when it comes to struggling starting pitchers.

Barry Zito skipped a scheduled start when he struggled in 2008, and Matt Cain made two appearances out of the bullpen in 2006 -- only to return to the rotation by throwing a one-hitter against the Athletics in his next start.

Despite homer drought, Giants winning at home

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants had not hit a home run at AT&T Park in their last 16 home games heading into Tuesday's matchup against the Astros, the longest such streak in the club's San Francisco era.

The team has just one home run in its last 22 games at home, with the last Giants batter to hit a home run being Gregor Blanco on May 14 against the Rockies.

"That's a tough one," manager Bruce Bochy said. "You don't want guys trying to get home runs. We have more power, I think, than we've shown. I think Pablo [Sandoval's return] will help."

In 32 games at AT&T Park as of Tuesday, the Giants have a Major League-low six home runs at home this season, eight fewer than the next lowest club, and 46 fewer than the Major League-leading New York Yankees.

"If you start looking at that number and then all of a sudden we want guys getting home runs, that will just compound the problem," Bochy said.

Even with their power outage at home, the Giants are still 10-6 during the homer drought.

"Through all that, we've played really well, I thought," Bochy said. "We've found ways to score runs, that's the important thing. The home runs are nice, but when they're not coming, hopefully you're getting key hits."

Jay Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.