CHICAGO What a lift the Giants could get from this guy down the stretch.
Xavier Nady? Well, sure. But Tim Lincecum, too.
Nadys first at-bat in a Giants uniform was one to remember a three-run double that gave the Giants a lead they would not relinquish in a 5-2 victory at Wrigley Field Saturday afternoon.
Lincecum has been so leaky so often this season, but he only paid for one mistake and otherwise looked refreshed and invigorated in cooler conditions while holding the Cubs to four hits in 6 13 innings.
The Giants improved to 4-1 with one game to go on their road trip to Houston and Chicago. Theyre grateful for that, and for the remnants of Hurricane Isaac for not disrupting play. The last thing they wanted was a doubleheader on Sunday, especially with more rain in the forecast plus a day game looming at AT&T Park on Monday, too.
Starting pitching report
Despite some early wobbles, including a two-seamer that David DeJesus crushed into the right field bleachers for a two-run homer in the third inning, Lincecum delivered one of his better starts of the season.
Lincecum (8-14) wasnt struggling to invent ways to retire hitters. He had many more weapons at his disposal as he threw several changeups and curveballs to escape big spots.
He threw a curveball that froze Alfonso Soriano to strand Anthony Rizzo at third base in the third inning. In fact, Rizzos double was the last hit that Lincecum allowed.
Lincecum held the Cubs to four hits, he walked three and struck out seven in 6 13 innings. He didnt have seven strikeouts in any of his five starts in August.
Lincecum departed after a one-out walk to Wellington Castillo in the seventh, and the bullpen made sure to save his ERA. Jose Mijares and Guillermo Mota each recorded a called strikeout to end the inning.
Javier Lopez made it 22 consecutive scoreless outings by getting a double-play grounder to end the eighth before Sergio Romo took the mound for the ninth.
At the plate
The Giants four-run first inning started innocently enough with Pablo Sandovals two-out single. Buster Posey added another and Hunter Pence walked to load the bases for Hector Sanchez, who let a 2-2 pitch graze his jersey to drive in a run.
Then Nady, wearing No. 68, made an impact in his first at-bat in a Giants uniform.
Both Pence and Sanchez saw eight pitches, and Nady was paying attention. He laced a 1-0 sinker down the third base line and into the left field corner, clearing the bases to give the Giants a 4-0 lead.
It was the first time a Giants left fielder had a three-RBI game since Melky Cabrera on Aug. 12. Cabrera was suspended three days later for testing positive for testosterone.
The Giants added a run in the second inning after Angel Pagan tripled his 10th of the season, getting him within two of matching the San Francisco-era franchise record held by Willie Mays and Steve Finley. Marco Scutaros sacrifice fly brought him home.
DeJesus was a two-way threat. In addition to his home run, he made a remarkable backhanded catch while sliding on the dirt near the right field foul line on Posey in the fifth inning. Replays showed the ball wouldve landed fair for what wouldve been Poseys sixth hit in his first six at-bats of the series.
The Giants received more subtle defensive contributions. Shortstop Brandon Crawford somehow was able to hang onto a throw as DeJesus immediately slid into his glove on a stolen-base attempt in the fifth. And Angel Pagan slid to a knee while making a running grab on Luis Valbuena in the sixth.
Hunter Pence made a sliding catch on a pop-up to shallow right field in the ninth inning.
Gregor Blanco replaced Nady in left field in the sixth inning. Prior to that, Nady did just fine while cutting off one ball in the gap to prevent a double.
It was kegs and eggs at Wrigley Field with the 12:05 p.m. CDT start. The Cubs announced 32,477 paid.
The Giant complete their three-game series at Wrigley Field on Sunday. Matt Cain (13-5, 2.82) opposes left-hander Travis Wood (4-11, 4.71).