Lincecum: 'It's competitive side of me that will get me through'

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Lincecum: 'It's competitive side of me that will get me through'

DENVER Tim Lincecum was more than 30 pitches deep into thefirst inning, Shane Loux began marking up a bullpen mound and Giants managerBruce Bochy tried to fight back a very bad feeling.

We had to get somebody up, Bochy said. It was hot outthere. It was getting to a point where wed have to go get him. We had to takecare of him.

The last time Lincecum pitched here at Coors Field, helasted just 2 13 innings the shortest start of his career. This one wasthreatening to be even shorter.

But then Lincecum got ahead of Wilin Rosario with the basesloaded. He kept throwing fastballs. Rosario fouled off a pair with two strikes.Lincecum came back with another, and Rosario hit a harmless fly out to rightfield.

Lincecum drew the battle line. He did not let the Rockiescross it again, gutting through six innings as the Giants completed their firstroad sweep of the season with an 8-3 victory at Coors Field on Sunday.
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More than any velocity or any mechanical issues, its thatcompetitive streak that Lincecum was missing in the first half when the Giantswere 4-14 in his starts. Its been the difference as the Giants have gone 4-1in his outings since the All-Star break.

Im just trying to stay competitive, Lincecum said.Thats the biggest thing. When its on the line and I dont have crap, itsthe competitive side of me that will get me through.

It always has. Lincecum recognized early that his changeupwas acting as a cutter in the dry air, so he went to his curveball and abackdoor slider to set up his fastball. He wasnt dominant, walking five andstriking out just three just the sixth start in his career when he had morefree passes than tickets punched.

But he found a way to adjust, as Ryan Vogelsong and MadisonBumgarner had done the previous two games.

I dont think anything is different, Lincecum said. Imnot throwing any harder, obviously, or throwing a new pitch. Im just having moreconviction with what I throw.

I remember youd refer to me as a stopper. Im just tryingto get back that edge. Today wasnt a stopper situation, but youve got toapproach it like that."

Lincecum had one win and a 9.00 ERA in his first 10 road starts. He's 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last two road outings, both in hitter's yards (Philadelphia and Colorado).

He helped pitch the Giants to their first road sweep of the season; it was their 13th opportunity to complete a three-game sweep in 2012, but just the fourth time they achieved it.

I just wanted to dig deep," Lincecum said. "I knew this was a big game forus. We wanted this sweep. Were a half-game up and we wanted to just keepputting the foot to the pedal.

The Giants certainly did that while outscoring the pitching-poor Rockies 35-12 in the three-game series. Theyalso went 20 for 52 (.385) with runners in scoring position over the threegames.

But it was a tightgame for most of Lincecums six innings, and he benefited from a bit of luck,too. Two innings ended with lineouts. Another ended on a double play when leftfielder Melky Cabrera caught a fly ball and threw a strike to the plate tothrow out Rosario trying to score.

Lincecum had so muchbad luck to go along with bad body language in the first half. Now he seems tohave his fighting spirit back, and his teammates seem inspired to fight alittle harder for him, too. Lincecum gave Hector Sanchez a hearty pat on theback after the catcher blocked the plate as he received Cabreras throw.

I wasdefinitely pumped up, Lincecum said. I knew I gave him a pretty good beatingback there and he kept trucking along. Youve got to give him a hand there.

Said Sanchez: I tried to block the plate. Thats what everycatcher tries to do. Its a perfect throw. Its a big guy. But thats my job.

Its in Lincecums job description to be an ace. Perhaps itsnot too late.

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

Former Giants OF Gregor Blanco agrees to deal with NL West rival

After five seasons with the Giants, outfielder Gregor Blanco has a new home.

The veteran outfielder has agreed to a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to his agent Wilfredo Polidor.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

The deal includes a $1 million base salary if Blanco makes the major league roster, according to SB Nation's Chris Cotillo. Blanco has a chance to earn an addition $2.7 million in performance-based incentives and has an opt-out of April 1 in the deal.

Shortly after Polidor made the announcement, Blanco thanked the D'backs on Twitter for the bringing him to the organization.

"Thanks to the @Dbacks for let me part of a dream the same dream I got another ring another championship let's all dream together we can doit," Blanco wrote.

Blanco bounced around from Braves to the Royals from 2008 to 2010, but found a home with the Giants prior to the 2012 season.

Over five seasons with the Giants, Blanco appeared in 649 games. He hit .259/.338/.360 with 244 runs scored, 78 doubles, 24 triples, 19 home runs, 157 RBI and 75 stolen bases.

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Obama pardons Giants legend Willie McCovey

President Barack Obama pardoned Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey on Tuesday.

McCovey, along with Dodgers Hall of Fame outfielder Duke Snider, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in July of 1995. The crime came from not reporting income McCovey earned from signing autographs and appearing at sports memorabilia shows. 

McCovey previously pleaded guilty to not listing $70,000 he made from 1988-90, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Through the Giants, McCovey said: "I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Obama not only for this kind gesture on my behalf, but also for his tireless service to all Americans. He will be deeply missed and I wish him all the best in the future."

The 79-year-old McCovey was one of 64 people who received pardons from President Obama Tuesday as his final days in office wind down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.