SAN FRANCISCO What does Tim Lincecum think about a 5 -gamelead in the NL West?
Lets just keep going, he said, after surviving acareer-high seven walks and gutting through 6 13 innings of a 5-2 victory overthe Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night. I dont think anybody in here is saying, 'Thats enough room.' With the time we have left, weve just got to keeppushing and not give in.
Dont give in. That couldve been Lincecums motto in hismost important start of the season. It was a bit of a mess at times, and no,Lincecum will not be able to fine tune all the moving parts in his deliverythis season. It will not all come together like the tumblers in a lock. Hesstill fighting himself with every outing, every inning, every delivery.
But he is fighting.
He made pitches when he had to, Giants manager Bruce Bochysaid. Thats what good pitchers do. Thats what he did tonight.
He did mix in some walks and you hate to see that. But hewasnt missing by much. He had a good look about him. He kept his poise outthere and kept pitching. Thats what hes doing now.
He has not pitched like an ace this season, but he receivedthe ace treatment in a huge game. Bochy let him start the seventh inning with107 pitches, hoping he could get a fourth ground ball from Adrian Gonzalez.
Lincecum issued a walk, but Santiago Casilla stranded bothhis runners by going through the middle of the Dodgers lineup. It was part of arunning theme: Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Hanley Ramirez and Andre Ethier were 0-for-17 for the night.
You cant do that without having a sound game plan -- and executingit.
Lincecum wasnt always able to do that, but he brushed theedges with his fastball -- both his two-seamer and four-seamer -- at times whenthe Dodgers could inflict the most damage.
I felt out of sync at times, Lincecum said. Mechanically,I was there 70 percent of the time. I was leaking my shoulder or blockingmyself with my hips. I dont know how to explain it, but those are my keys.
Lincecum referenced walking five or six batters. He visiblygulped when told it was actually seven, a career high.
No, its not easy to walk seven batters and win. Lincecumdidnt get the decision. But it was the first time the Giants won a game inwhich their starter issued seven walks or more since Sept. 10, 2010 -- and asyou might have guessed, that day had Jonathan Sanchezs markings all over it.
Sanchez, youll remember, had been frustrated by the SanDiego Padres all season. In a rash moment, he guaranteed the Giants wouldfinish ahead of them in the standings. That day, he refused to give in or bebeaten with anything over the plate. It wasnt the best way to operate, but hedidnt allow a run in his five innings while walking seven.
It wont always work this way for Lincecum, either. But hewasnt content to throw something over the middle and hope for the best. Hekept pitching through misplays or when behind in the count. And this time, itworked out.
Timmys a gamer, said Sergio Romo, who made his own gutsypitch when he froze Mark Ellis with a fastball to strand two in the eighth. Hewants to win and theres not a harsher critic in this clubhouse of his ownperformance. So to see him beat that team and set a tone in an importantseries, hes one of our aces. Youve got to rally behind a guy like that."