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.
NEW YORK -- Tyson Ross, an All-Star pitcher for San Diego two years ago, was among 35 players who became free agents when their teams declined to offer them 2017 contracts on Friday.
Washington outfielder Ben Revere and Philadelphia outfielder Cody Asche also were cut loose, along with Arizona catcher Welington Castillo and pitcher Rubby De La Rosa; Baltimore pitcher Vance Worley; and Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Louis Coleman.
Milwaukee first baseman Chris Carter and Pittsburgh pitcher Jeff Locke were non-tendered as well; their teams had already designated them for assignment earlier this week.
Teams cut players at the tender deadline to avoid committing to salary arbitration, in which about one-sixth of next season's salary is guaranteed.
Ross, a 29-year-old right-hander, was 13-14 with a 2.81 ERA in 2014 and 10-12 with a 3.26 ERA the following season. He was limited to one major league appearance this year and had surgery in October for thoracic outlet syndrome. Recovery time was expected to be four to six months, and the Padres deemed him too pricy for arbitration after he earned $9,625,000 this year.
Asche, 26, was designated for assignment earlier Friday to clear a roster spot for left-hander David Rollins, claimed off waivers from Texas. Asche hit .240 with 31 homers and 125 RBIs for the Phillies during 371 games in the past four seasons and would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time.
The 28-year-old Revere was acquired from Toronto in January for reliever Drew Storen but strained his right oblique in his first at-bat of the season, left after four innings and went on the disabled list. Revere returned May 6, hit just .217 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 103 games and would have been on track for a raise from his $6.25 million salary.
Castillo batted .264 with 14 homers and 68 RBIs and would have gotten a big raise from his $3.7 million salary.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants tendered contracts to all six arbitration-eligible players on Friday, agreeing to one-year contracts with two of them.
Right-hander Cory Gearrin will get $1.05 million and infielder Ehire Adrianza will receive $600,000, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The Giants will exchange figures with George Kontos, Will Smith, Eduardo Nunez and Conor Gillaspie. They traditionally have avoided going to actual arbitration hearings.
Gearrin, Kontos and Smith will make up a chunk of the bullpen next season, while Nunez is expected to start at third base. Gillaspie, the postseason hero, should see more playing time and Adrianza is currently slated to return in his familiar bench role.
The day was smoother for the Giants than other NL West teams. The Diamondbacks non-tendered Welington Castillo and Rubby De La Rosa and the Padres later sent mini shockwaves through the market by non-tendering former ace Tyson Ross, who is coming off a season lost to injury. Ross was one of six Padres to be let go, a list that included former Giant Hector Sanchez.