Giants lean on Lincecum for series win over Twins

June 23, 2011, 6:10 pm
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June 23, 2011MINNESOTA (32-40) vs.
GIANTS (40-34)Coverage begins at 12 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area(AP) -- Joe Mauer's first visit to San Francisco has been upstaged by fellow catcher Eli Whiteside.The suddenly surging Whiteside could help Tim Lincecum end his struggles as the Giants look to take two of three from the Minnesota Twins on Thursday afternoon at AT&T Park.Whiteside has been seeing most of the work behind the plate with 2010 NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey likely out for the rest of the season with a broken leg suffered last month. He had been hitting .190 coming into this series before responding with back-to-back two-hit games, a homer and four RBIs.Whiteside had a two-run triple and run-scoring single Wednesday as San Francisco (40-34) snapped a five-game skid with a 5-1 win, ending Minnesota's season-high eight-game run.
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He also caught Ryan Vogelsong, who continued his storybook season by retiring the first 12 batters. The one-time journeyman gave up a run and three hits over seven innings, improving to 5-1 with a 1.86 ERA."He pretty much ate us up through most of the part of the game," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The guy was pretty nasty."Whiteside next is expected to catch Lincecum (5-6, 3.39 ERA), who's winless this month and been wild lately.The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 in four June starts with a 7.59 ERA - a figure reduced by nearly two runs after a 5-2 loss to Oakland on Friday.
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Lincecum gave up three runs and five hits over six innings, but also walked five and struck out seven. He had been 5-0 with a 1.17 ERA against the Giants' cross-bay rival."I'm trying to fool hitters, mess with their heads, but that doesn't work very well when you're not throwing strikes," said the right-hander, who's issued 12 bases on balls in 15 innings over his last three games.Lincecum, who has alternated wins and losses in his last four interleague games, has never faced the Twins (32-40).Despite Wednesday's defeat, the Twins have won 15 of 18, and trail AL Central-leading Cleveland by 7 12 games.
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"We can't be too down," said Nick Blackburn, who lost for the first time since April 28. "You're not going to win every game you play. As much as this team's been through already this year, I don't think we're going to let one game ruin it for us."Mauer went 0 for 4 Wednesday and is 3 for 20 with two RBIs since coming back from an absence of more than two months due to bilateral leg weakness.Brian Duensing (4-6. 4.82) will try to build off the first interleague win of his career for Minnesota in the finale.Duensing was charged with two runs and seven hits through six innings, struck out five and walked one in the Twins' 6-5 victory over San Diego on Friday.The left-hander was given a 5-0 lead in the first inning, keyed by an RBI single from Mauer in his first game since April 12. Duensing, though, struggled with his control while throwing 106 pitches."I was kind of fighting myself a lot," he told the Twins' official website. "My release point was off and I had a few mechanical issues. But overall I'm happy with the result. I hadn't been throwing well lately so to go at least six and give the team a chance to win is a positive."Duensing will be making his first appearance against San Francisco.