Results tagged ‘ Tim Lincecum ’

San Francisco Giants 5, Oakland Athletics 4: Freaky turn of events for Tim Lincecum, Giants

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San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum throws against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of an interleague baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Friday, June 22, 2012. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

It’s hard to label a win over a sub-.500 team in June as a pivotal game.

But if this season turns out with a happy ending coming September, the Giants may look back at June 22 as a turning point.

And the weird thing about it is that it looked nothing like a happy ending when this game started.

Tim Lincecum took the mound Friday and seemed headed to his most disastrous start of the ugliest season of his big-league career.

Lincecum had not recorded an out and the A’s had scored three runs and had the bases loaded, looking for more. Shane Loux was feverishly warming up in the bullpen.

Then something flipped in the Freak. We think he just got ticked off.

Lincecum would strike out the next three batters to end the inning.

Lincecum would finish his night by retiring 18 of the final 20 batters he faced, allowing only two-out walks in the second and sixth innings. He gave up three runs on three hits and four walks in six innings for his first quality start since May 30 and the third this season.

Almost just as unlikely was the way it ended for the Giants.

Lincecum left trailing 3-1 and it looked like he was going to fall to 2-9 on the season.

But the Giants rallied for four runs in the top of the ninth — Brandon Belt’s two-run double the big hit — to end a six-game losing streak in Oakland.

The Giants improved to 2-29 in games in which they trailed after eight innings.

Before striking out those three batters to end the first inning, Lincecum’s outing was a mixture of bad pitches from Lincecum, bad luck and bad defense.

Coco Crisp led off the game with a ground ball that Ryan Theriot was able to get to, but not able to throw out the speedy Crisp. Infield single.

Crisp stole second. Then Lincecum completely lost track of Crisp as he stole third — without a throw and standing up.

Jemile Weeks then singled to center just past Lincecum’s glove in the hardest hit ball of the inning.

At this point, you were thinking that Lincecum should just shake off that first run and reset himself.

He gave up a soft liner to right by Josh Reddick. But Nate Schierholtz, in right field because Angel Pagan was out with an  abdominal strain (if Pagan plays, Blanco is in right), got a bad break on the ball and allowed it to fall for a single.

Lincecum then made it worse by walking Yoenis Cespedes to load the bases.

Looking for an inning-ending double play, Lincecum instead got Seth Smith to ground the ball to first baseman Brandon Belt.

Belt had two options here: A) throw home immediately to try to force out Weeks at home; B) take the ball to the bag, get the out there and allow the run to score.

Belt chose option C. He started to run toward the bag, but never touched it before throwing home, keeping the force intact. However, catcher Hector Sanchez wasn’t aware that the force was still in play, so he was not standing on the plate when he received Belt’s throw, allowing Weeks to slide under him to score.

So instead of being down 2-0 with one out and runners on second and third, Lincecum was down 2-0 with the bases loaded and no one out.

He made matters worse by walking Brandon Inge to make it 3-0.

Then, suddenly, just as things looked as if everything was going to completely unravel, the Lincecum of old showed up.

With his three first-inning strikeouts, Lincecum threw 43 pitches in the first inning. He would throw 62 over the next five innings to finish with 105.

Hopefully, HOPEFULLY, this is the start Lincecum has been looking for to turn the corner. It was against the A’s, the worst-hitting team in the majors. But at this point, we’ll take any positive step we can get.

Lincecum’s next start will come Wednesday afternoon at home against the Dodgers and Chad Billingsley, a pitcher who has been battling struggles of his own.

UP NEXT

After winning a game that looked like the worst pitching matchup of the series for the Giants, San Francisco will try to win Game 2 with its best pitching matchup when Madison Bumgarner takes on Tyson Ross at 4:05 p.m. Saturday in a game televised by FOX.

Texas Rangers 5, San Francisco Giants 0: Another unhappy Tim Lincecum Day

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Sunday was another trek down improbability lane.

The Giants moved to 0-8 in games started by Lincecum since May 4. They are 22-5 in all other games.

That stat is simply staggering.

Lincecum’s state line Sunday fell right into his normal pattern this season: five runs on nine hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up five singles, three doubles and a triple.

Unlike some of his past outings, it wasn’t one bad inning. He gave one run in the third, two in the fourth and two in the sixth.

Yet with good defense, Lincecum could have escaped with just one run allowed. With great defense, he could have not allowed a run at all.

Let’s take a look back:

In the third with a runner on third and two out, Adrian Beltre sent a one-hop bullet past Pablo Sandoval. It was hit so hard that it went for a double despite being hit to Sandoval’s left. It was a clean hit, but with quicker reflexes and range, it could have been an outing.

In the fourth with a runner on first and one out, Craig Gentry hit a sharp grounder to Sandoval, who went to backhand the ball. But it hit off the heel of his glove and went for an infield hit. Now with two one and one out, Alexis Ogando tried to bunt the runners over. His bunt was hard and to the left of Lincecum. Instead of charging the ball, Sandoval retreated at first to cover third. By the time he recovered, Ogando was safe with another infield hit. Ian Kinsler then pulled a double down the left-field line to score two.

Now some may say that even if Ogando had been thrown out, Kinsler’s double still would have scored two. But with two out and first base open, Lincecum may have taken a different approach with Kinsler. The bigger play was Sandoval’s inability to field Gentry’s grounder. If he does that, Lincecum like gets out of the inning by getting Ogando out.

In the sixth with one on and no out, Sandoval fielded Robbie Ross’ bunt. But his throw to second required an extra effort by Brandon Crawford to catch the ball and eliminated any chance at a double play. Kinsler then grounded to Crawford, who in his haste to try to turn two made a bad exchange from glove to hand. So instead of getting one out, or maybe even two, both runners were safe. It was ruled a hit. Then Elvis Andrus hit a one hopper right at Sandoval, who did not field the ball cleanly and was only able to get the force out at second, instead of an inning-ending double play. So Lincecum got three straight infield grounders, but only two outs. Then Josh Hamilton hammered a two-run double to end Lincecum’s day.

So with some defensive help, Lincecum’s day could have been much different. But the Lincecum of old would generally find his way out of trouble, even if the defense helped create the mess. But not this Lincecum.

Lincecum gave up four extra base-hits. Three of them came with two outs and runners on base, leading to all five of his runs allowed.

Not that much of this mattered Sunday. With the Giants’ inept offensive effort Sunday, all the Rangers needed was that first run.

But we grow tired of making excuses for Lincecum. He needs to get this figured out and soon.

The schedule is there to help him. His next start will come Saturday in his hometown (hometownish, he’s actually from Renton) of Seattle against the weak-hitting Mariners. Then, he’ll face another weak-hitting team — the Athletics in Oakland.

Of course facing a weak-hitting team in a pitcher-friendly park didn’t help Lincecum last week against the Padres, so we’ll see.

San Diego Padres 6, San Francisco Giants 5: Tim Lincecum not quite dominant, but close

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At first glance at Tuesday’s start, it seems like the same old story for Tim Lincecum.

One bad inning.

Lincecum gave up four runs on five hits — and just one walk — in six innings of work. All four runs (not to mention four of the hits and the lone walk) occurred in the second inning.

In the other five innings, Lincecum set down 15 of the 16 batters he faced. Carlos Quentin’s sixth-inning double was the lone baserunner in those innings. All eight of Lincecum’s strikeouts came after the Padres’ four-run second.

But even the second inning wasn’t as terrible as it looked.

It started off bad, with a Quentin home run followed by a Chase Headley double.

After John Baker flied out, Logan Fosythe walked, then Everth Cabrera singled home the second run.

But this is where Lincecum almost escaped without further damage.

Anthony Bass, attempting to sacrifice, bunted hard to Brandon Belt, who threw out Forsythe at third. But in making the glove exchange, third baseman Joaquin Arias dropped the ball, preventing an inning-ending double play.

However, on second glance, the Giants were lucky to get one out on the play.

Replays showed that Arias not only came off the bag before catching the ball, it’s not even clear he caught the ball cleanly at all. So could have easily had been bases loaded with one out.

That’s important because Cameron Maybin then hit a Lincecum changeup off his shoe tops for a broken-bat, two-run double.

Lincecum said: “Nine times out of 10 if I throw that same pitch to him, maybe it’s a double play.”

Well, as long as Starlin Castro isn’t your shortstop.

But after the second, Lincecum shut down the Padres and gave his team a chance to rally, which they did by tying the game with a three-run sixth.

The Giants even took the lead in the seventh, giving Lincecum the chance to get the win.

But home runs in the eighth by Quentin and in the ninth of Forsythe (his first career home run) turned a possible win into a Giants loss — the seventh consecutive loss in a Lincecum start.

Since May 4, the Giants are 0-7 in Lincecum starts; 19-5 in starts by the other four starters.

UP NEXT

Madison Bumgarner starts against Clayton Richard in a funky San Diego 3:35 p.m. start.

Arizona Diamondbacks 4, San Francisco Giants 1: A quality start for Tim Lincecum

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Well, it was a quality start for Tim Lincecum. We can at least say that.

For only the second time this season, Lincecum notched a quality start, giving up two runs (one earned) in seven innings. He walked five and struck out six, giving up four hits in a 112-pitch outing.

But as it turns out that wasn’t enough to get him, nor the Giants, a win.

While Lincecum avoided the big inning that has haunted him so much this season, he was again bitten by poor pitch selection.

With two out in the sixth, Lincecum was facing Paul Goldschmidt, a hitter who is 6 for 11 with three home runs off Lincecum.

Lincecum started off by throwing a high hanging curveball. Then with the count 1-0, he tried a low curveball, which Goldschmidt dug out and drove over the left-field fence.

It would have been better for Lincecum to work around Goldschmidt and instead go after Chris Young, a batter Lincecum has had better success against. And if he decides to pitch to Goldschmidt, don’t give him anything he can hit out to left … like a curveball.

It should have been fastballs and changeups away. Make him hit it out to right.

Some may say with the Diamondbacks adding on two runs in the seventh and the Giants held to one run, it didn’t really matter.

But if Lincecum gets out of the sixth still tied at 1-1, it’s likely the Giants would have gone with someone other than Steve Edlefsen out of the bullpen.

Lincecum can at least take this outing and build off of it. He’ll get the Cubs next on Monday. Another chance for another solid outing.

OTHER NOTE

Melky Cabrera collected his 51st hit of May in the ninth to tie Randy Winn for the most by a San Francisco Giants hitter in a month.

UP NEXT

The Giants take Thursday off before opening a four-game set with the Cubs.

Miami Marlins 7, San Francisco Giants 6: The saga of Tim Lincecum continues

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Same story, different game.

Tim Lincecum looked good, very good at times against the Miami Marlins.

His fastball was topping out at 93 mph.

He held the Marlins to one run through five innings.

He successfully managed to work himself out of jams in the first and fifth innings.

But, oh, that blowup inning.

And what makes the blowup inning more frustrating is that is could have been avoided.

Let’s relive Lincecum’s disaster inning this time.

  • Omar Infante doubles
  • Hanley Ramirez strikes out looking.
  • Giancarlo Stanton singles, scoring Infante (first sign of trouble)
  • Logan Morrison walks (second sign of trouble)
  • Bryan Peterson singles to right, but doesn’t tie game only because the Marlins held up Stanton at third (third sign of trouble)
  • John Buck flies out to DEEP center. So deep that all three runnners tag up (fourth sign of trouble)
  • Chris Coughlan homers. Marlins lead 6-3. Lincecum is removed from game (time to call the fire truck, even though the house has already burned to the ground).

When asked if he had any second thoughts about going to get Lincecum earlier, manager Bruce Bochy got grumpy.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Bochy said. “Who he’s facing? The bottom of the order? As much as we’ve used the pen? His pitch count was fine. I didn’t struggle at all. If I’ve got to take him out with who he’s facing, we’re hurting.”

Hey, Boch. You’re ace is who is making $21 million is 2-5 with a 6.41 ERA. We think you’re hurting.

To Bochy’s credit, Lincecum did only throw 97 pitches when he was lifted, 60 of them for strikes. And the bottom of the Marlins’ order is hardly tearing it up. But there were some tell-tale signs that Lincecum was heading down the worn-out road to destruction in the sixth.

The hits to Infante (hitting .340) and Stanton (hitting .289) are somewhat excusable. But when he walks Morrison (hitting .224), you have to start wondering.

When he gives up a hit to Peterson (hitting .188), red flags should start going off in your head.

The LOUD sacrifice fly to Buck (hitting .170)? Hello? Even with Lincecum facing Coughlan, hitting .106 at the time, it may have been time to get him.

But he didn’t.

It’s not about Lincecum’s arm right now. It’s as much about his psyche. Getting The Freak right does not involve a start when he’s second-guessing himself.

And that alone should have made Bochy second guess himself.

UP NEXT

The Giants turn next to Madison Bumgarner to face Mark Buerhle at 1:10 p.m. Saturday. At least the offense is still producing.

Colorado Rockies 5, San Francisco Giants 4: Defense lets Tim Lincecum down, and that’s OK with Bruce Bochy

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Tim Lincecum got somewhat lost amid the late-game theatrics in Tuesday’s loss to the Rockies.

Lincecum’s final line was nothing to write home about — four runs on seven hits and three walks in seven innings. Yet through five innings, Lincecum was very good, allowing just one run on three hits and one walk.

He retired the side in order in the first two innings, striking out three. He did not allow his first hit until the fourth inning.

But things rapidly went awry in the sixth with Angel Pagan’s foolish decision to attempt a shoe-string catch on Troy Tulowitzki’s liner to center.

Instead of playing the ball on a hop for a single, Pagan tried to make a lunging catch. But the ball went under his glove and all the way to the center-field wall for a single and a two-base error. If Tulowitzki weren’t so hobbled by a bruise foot sustained Tuesday, he would have easily rounded the bases and scored. Instead, he simply jogged to third.

Ever the apologist, manager Bruce Bochy gave Pagan a pass.

“That’s part of the game when you’re hopefully playing aggressive,” Bochy said. “I don’t want these guys to go the other way. I probably would have felt worse if he had backed off and caught it on one hop there if he had a chance to catch it. And he was pretty close to catching that.”

OK, there’s a difference between playing aggressively and playing smart. The Giants need to play smart, and they need a manager who understands that.

First, as a center fielder with a ball hit directly at you, you have to know that if you miss it that will lead to big, BIG trouble because it’s unlikely someone will be there to back you up. It’s much different on a ball hit to either gap, when either the left or right fielder could be in position to back you up.

Also, the situation dictates how you play that. If there’s a runner on third with two outs and the liner to center is hit, yeah, be aggressive. Try to catch the ball to prevent the run.

But this was with one out and no one on. Then it becomes a risk-reward situation. You could A) catch the ball for an out; B) play the ball on a hop for a one-out single to a slow-moving baserunner who will clog up the basepaths; or C) miss the catch and potentially turn it into a four-base play.

The smart play is to play it on a hop and trust that Lincecum can work around the one-out single … like he had done previously in the game.

Instead, there’s a runner on third with one out. So Lincecum pitches around Todd Helton for his second walk, trying to set up a double play. He gets Michael Cuddyer to hit a grounder, but it’s right over the third-base bag for a double, scoring Tulowitzki.

Then Lincecum walks Ramon Hernandez to load the bases. Lincecum gets Jordan Pacheco to hit a fly to shallow center, which should have afforded Pagan a chance to throw out the slow-footed Helton. But Pagan’s throw is nowhere near the plate, and Helton scores.

Pagan’s aggrssiveness led to two runs being scored. It led to two of Lincecum’s three walks (which were basically intentional). It led to a stressful inning that caused Lincecum’s pitch count to mount. And it led to Lincecum to wonder what he needs to do to pitch better when in fact, he did his job.

But apparently all of that is perfectly fine with Bochy.

Los Angeles Dodgers 6, San Francisco 2: Tim Lincecum sooooo close to being old freakish self

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If I told you that Tim Lincecum regularly hit 93 mph on the speed gun, walked just two and struck out eight, including Matt Kemp three times as part of an 0-for-5 night, you’d have to think it was a great night for the Freak and the Giants.

Oh, it was a so close to being true.

The game got away from Lincecum in the fourth inning, and Giants could not recover. Lincecum put himself in a bad position by leaving some pitches up. But his outstanding start to the game was completely undone by one bad pitch.

Giants fans had to feel good after Lincecum got through the first inning unscathed. He mixed in a walk and a single in-between three strikeouts in a 24-pitch frame.

But he was back to his dominant self in the second and third innings, with his fastball hitting 93 mph and his slider at 87 mph, a good 3-4 mph bump from his previous outings.

Then came the fourth. It started with Andre Ethier lacing a double to right. Lincecum left a pitch up and Bobby Abreu slapped it into center, with Ethier holding at third.

Juan Uribe hit a ball sharply to third that Joaquin Arias was able to glove, but slipped when he went to throw Abreu out at second. That went for an infield single as Ethier scored.

A wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third before a James Loney  struck out for the first out.

Lincecum walked AJ Ellis on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases. Dodger skipper Don Mattingly pinch-hit for pitcher Chad Billingsley, calling on Tony Gwynn Jr.

But Lincecum jumped out to an 0-2 count. And that’s when he hung a curve ball right in the middle of the plate that Gwynn whacked to right for a three-run triple. Dodgers 4, Giants 2.

And that was it.

“You’re questioning yourself during games and during situations like that,” Lincecum said. “It’s just about execution. That’s what it comes down to making a better pitch in a situation where you’re ahead in the count, it’s in your favor and you’ve got their guy guessing. So why give the guy a cookie down the middle that he can see well?”

Why indeed. Lincecum got out of the fourth with the 4-2 deficit. He would pitch the fifth before exiting with 101 pitches, 74 for strikes.

The fourth inning had a double-negative effect on the Giants. It created an opportunity for the Dodgers to get Billngsley out of the game.

The Giants tagged Billingsley for seven hits and four walks in four innings, but again failed to big hit to break the game open.

Actually, two Nate Schierholtz plays on the basepaths really hurt the Giants.

In the second, after drawing a one-out walk, Schierholtz was caught stealing second base. That was followed by a walk to Arias, single by Brandon Crawford and single by Tim Lincecum that produced the game’s first run, when it should have produced at least two.

In the third, it got worse for Schierholtz.

Melky Cabrera had a one-out triple and scored on Buster Posey’s single. Brandon Belt grounded into a force play, but Schierholtz singled to put runners on first and second. Arias singled to center that appeared to score Belt, but Schierholtz made a big turn around second and scrambled back to the bag. Matt Kemp alertly saw this and threw Schierholtz out BEFORE Belt came across the plate.

That’s two runs the Giants left on the base paths, perhaps even more.

As we’ve said before, the Giants don’t have the kind of offense to keep making mistakes that prevent runs from being scored.

UP NEXT

The Giants get a day off Thursday before opening a three-game series in Arizona, who are riding a five-game losing streak.

Milwaukee Brewers 6, San Francisco Giants 4: Tim Lincecum is wild as Bruce Bochy bungles

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It was another episode of Dr. Lincecum and Mr. Freak. We’ll let you decide who’s the genius and who’s the monster.

The Giants suffered their fourth straight loss after what started as a mind-numbing start by Tim Lincecum but then finished strong.

Lincecum started by throwing 11 of his first 13 pitches for balls. One of the strikes was a swinging strike at pitch out of the strike zone. The other strike resulted in Corey Hart graciously hitting into a force play.

The Brewers score their first run without a hit — on hit batter, two walks and a wild pitch. Jonathan Lucroy had the only hit in the inning, a two-run single for a 3-0 lead. Lincecum threw 24 pitches in the inning with only 10 strikes.

The second inning also another disaster, 26 pitches, two more walks before Lincecum escaped a bases-loaded jam without allowing a run.

Then he flipped the switch, retiring the last 10 batters he faced.

“To see myself, a guy who’s been able to do things my way and get away with it, it’s a little different to have to grind through things when you never really had to,” Lincecum said. “I’m getting in modes where I’m overthinking things too much instead of just going out there and trusting. That’s the biggest thing, go out there and have confidence in what you’ve got that day.”

BOCHY BUNGLES AGAIN

On Thursday, with runners on second and third and out, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pinch-hit for the left-handed Brandon Crawford with the left-handed hitting Nate Schierholtz, who had been mired in a 1-for-22 slump. Schierholtz hacked at the first pitch he saw and fouled out. The Giants did not score in that inning.

Flash forward to Friday night. The Giants loaded the bases with one out and Lincecum due up in the fifth. Even though Lincecum had only thrown 84 pitchers — 34 his last three innings after 50 in his first two — Bochy decided to hit for his pitcher in an effort to get more runs. So who does he send into bat? Schierholtz, who struck out swinging. The Giants wouldn’t score any more runs that inning. Travis Blackley came into the game to pitch in the sixth and the Brewers scored their fourth run of the game on a SUICIDE SQUEEZE PLAY!!!

ODDS AND ENDS

  • The way things are going for the Giants, little things because huge things. In the Giants 3-run sixth that tied the game at 4-4, umpire Ed Rapuano’s blown call turned out to be a huge play. The Giants had just scored two runs in the inning and had Buster Posey on first with nobody out. Angel Pagan appeared to beat out an infield single, but Rapuano called him out. But if Rapuano makes the right call, Posey is on second and Pagan on first with no one out. A passed ball with Brandon Belt hitting moves the runners to second and third. Then when Belt shoots the ball past Rickie Weeks for an error, that play scores two runs, instead of one, and the Giants take a 5-4 lead. Rapuano’s makeup call on an infield squibber by Emmanuel Burriss a few plays later did not help the Giants recoup that lost run.
  • Sergio Romo goofed by pitching to Aramis Ramirez with runners on second and third and two out in the seventh. If he pitched to Ramirez, it should have out of the strike zone to get him to chase and strikeout. With the open base, it would have better to go after Alex Gonzalez. Instead, Romo came into A-Ram and he smacked it into left for a two-run single, the difference in the game.
  • Angel Pagan extended his hitting streak to 18 games.

UP NEXT

Madison Bumgarner goes for his fifth win when he faces lefty Randy Wolf in a 1:05 p.m. FOX game. Wouldn’t be surprised to see this lineup:

CF Angel Pagan
SS Joaquin Arias
RF Melky Cabrera
1B Buster Posey
C Hector Sanchez
LF Brett Pill
3B Connor Gillaspie
2B Ryan Theriot

San Francisco Giants 2, San Diego Padres 1: Another positive step for Tim Lincecum

BOX SCORE

Tim Lincecum is still not the Tim Lincecum we are used to seeing dominate teams. But he made another positive step in that direction.

After getting his first win of the season Monday in New York, Lincecum got another win in a solid eight-inning, 122-pitch outing against the Padres.

So let’s break it down, the good and the bad.

GOOD: He got his first quality start of the season, giving up no earned runs in eight innings. His ERA is at 5.74 now.

BAD: His velocity is still not what we’re used to seeing. He hit 90 and 91 at spots, but was consistently at 89 mph most of the game.

GOOD: He stayed at 89 mph all the way through the game, even as his pitch count got up into the 120s.

BAD: He struggled to knock batters out with a strikeout pitch. He only had five, his second lowest-total this season despite facing a season-high 31 batters. And three of those strikeouts were to the opposing pitcher, Anthony Bass.

GOOD: Even though the Padres were hitting the ball, they were making outs. The Padres only managed three hits and none of them left the infield: a swinging bunt by Jesus Guzman in the first inning,  a grounder by Yonder Alonso to second baseman Emmanuel Burriss in the second inning which was originally rules an error (correctly), then changed to a hit (incorrectly), and a bunt single by Will Venable in the eighth.

BAD: Lincecum walked four.

GOOD: Yes, but only one of them came after the third inning.

BAD: If not for two stellar running catches to the warning track by Melky Cabrera in left, it would have been much worse for Lincecum.

GOOD: After those hard shots in the fourth, Lincecum set down 8 of the next 9 without much fuss. In fact those outs by Cabrera were part of a stretch when Lincecum retired 12 of 13.

BAD: It was the Padres.

GOOD: It’s part of a longer stretch. Lincecum has now allowed one earned run in the past 13 innings (0.62 ERA) and two earned runs in his past 17 innings (1.06 ERA).

OTHER NOTES

  • Pablo Sandoval went 0 for 4 to end his season-opening hitting streak at 20. A blessing in disguise maybe. The Panda appeared to be pressing in recent days and did not look good Saturday, making out on first pitches three times.
  • Angel Pagan’s bunt single in the eighth extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
  • Brandon Belt had the big hit with his two-run double in the seventh inning. He’s hitting .278 now.
  • Lincecum broke up Bass’ perfect game bid with an infield single in the sixth.
  • Santiago Casilla recorded his third save in three tries, striking out one and only allowing a baserunner on his own error.
  • Before the game, the Giants sent pitcher Eric Hacker back to Fresno after his quality start Friday and called up reliever Steve Edlefsen to give them seven pitchers in the bullpen again.

UP NEXT

Madison Bumgarner faces lefty Clayton Richard. No word whether Saturday’s hero Belt will be in there vs. a lefty or if we’ll see Brett Pill, or even Buster Posey at 1B (day game after night game) and Hector Sanchez catching. We’ll look for Belt in there (either at first or left field) and scuffling Nate Schierholtz to get a day off.

San Francisco Giants 6, New York Mets 1 (Game 1): Tim Lincecum pitches better … ish

BOX SCORE

A look at the box score Monday in New Yokr may give the appearance that everything is right with Tim Lincecum.

The Freak gave up one run on five hits and struck out eight. Sounds good, right?

Well……….

He also walked five and labored to get through five innings, throwing 108 pitchers (60 for strikes).

So instead of being wild in the zone (as he has been in his first three starts), Lincecum was wild out of the zone. When he got ahead 0-2, instead of giving up 0-2 hits, he threw balls that we’re easily out of strike zone — easy takes, as Mike Krukow put it.

And he did this even after the Giants had given him a 5-1 lead or 6-1 lead.

If you’re up five runs, with no one on base, throw strikes.

It seemed, at times, that even when Lincecume wasn’t to throw strikes, he could not.

He threw no fewer than 17 pitches in any of his innings, throwing between 22-28 pitches in the second through fourth innings.

He loaded the bases in the fifth on two walks and a single, but got out of it when Emmanuel Burriss bailed him out by turning a nice double play on Lincecum’s 108th pitch.

Lincecum came into this season trying to focus on throwing more strikes and avoiding walks. He walked 86 batters last season, second most in the National League.

Coming into Monday’s game, he had walked only four. He walked five on Monday. So the approach may have changed some.

But he still needs to find command of his fastball.

Like we mentioned before, the Mets are not raking the ball right now, so it was a favorable matchup for Lincecum to work out his kinks.

He’ll get another favorable matchup in his next start, at home Saturday against the NL-worst hitting Padres.

But then after that, it’s at home against the Brewers on May 4 and at the Dodgers on May 9.

So the Freak needs to get this thing ironed out soon.

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