EXTRAS: 'Good day' for Lincecum etc.

July 15, 2012, 6:24 am
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BOX SCORESAN FRANCISCO -- All that noise about Saturday night being a make-or-break start for Tim Lincecum against the Houston Astros?First Lincecum heard about it."I wasn't aware of it at all," he said after making the Astros look like a minor league outfit with eight shutout innings and 11 strikeouts, both season highs. Call them the AAAstros.And manager Bruce Bochy agreed that there was no hangman waiting in the back...just in case. Not even with Lincecum have been shelled in his two most recent outings, in Washington and Pittsburgh, giving up a combined 13 runs in 6 23 innings to the Nationals and Pirates."He was never approached with that," Bochy said.In fact, Bochy reaffirmed that Lincecum would make his next start, in the sweltering heat of Philadelphia."I'm not going to answer 'What if?' But he's starting Friday. This was a great outing for him to get back on track."Something, though, switched on him when the calendar flipped to August in 2010. Consider: before that month, Lincecum was a combined 51-21 with a 2.94 ERA. Since then, he was 21-30 with a 3.93 ERA entering Saturday. And that's counting a 5-0 September in 2010 that catapulted the Giants into the postseason and World Series.Against Houston on Saturday, though, Lincecum lowered his career ERA against the Astros to 0.99."I was just being aggressive, trying to command the zone...trying to feed off that with the mindset of attacking hitters."Lincecum has also been much better at home this season, as his 2-4 record and 3.99 ERA at AT&T Park versus a 1-6 mark and 9.00 road ERA would suggest.Four of his next six starts should be on the shores of McCovey Cove."I can only worry about my next start," he said."Today was a good day."Beat the Astros Sunday behind Matt Cain, who authored the franchise's first perfect game the last time he faced Houston on June 13, and the Giants will have swept the Astros for the first time since May 14-16, 2010.While it was Hector Sanchez's second career walk-off hit, it was the Giants' fifth walk-off win of the season. Sanchez's sixth-inning run-scoring double was his first extra-base hit off a left-handed pitcher since May 23 at Milwaukee.Astros shortstop Jed Lowrie left the game in the third inning after being spiked by Grego Blanco at second base. The injury was described as a right ankle sprain, though he seemed to be grabbing at his right knee.

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