SAN DIEGO – The Giants have found no shelter at times over these last four weeks. But it’s always sunny when Tim Lincecum pitches against the Padres.
Facing the Padres for the first time since June 25, when he no-hit them for the second time in two years, Lincecum dominated yet again. He extended his streak to 23 scoreless innings before Brooks Conrad hit a solo home run in the seventh, but that was the only run he allowed in the Giants’ 5-3 victory Sunday afternoon at Petco Park.
In a rarity since Angel Pagan went down, the top of the lineup sparked the Giants as Hunter Pence and Joe Panik combined for five hits and five runs. Panik hit an RBI double and Brandon Belt also drove in a run to help the Giants win just their second series since June 8.
They built enough of a cushion to withstand another destructive appearance by Sergio Romo, who gave up his career high seventh home run of the season when Yasmani Grandal parked a two-run shot in the eighth.
Starting pitching report
Prior to the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he wouldn’t let Lincecum exceed 120 pitches “unless, you know, he’s got a no-hitter going …”
Sure enough, Lincecum extended his hitless streak against the Padres to 12 innings and struck out five before Jake Goebbert singled with two out in the fourth.
Goebberts had never faced Lincecum before Sunday. Who knew he was the Padres’ answer all this time?
Lincecum (8-5) stranded two that inning when he got Conrad to fly out to center. He faced six batters from the stretch and held the Padres hitless with runners on base while stranding four runners.
But Conrad took him deep with one out in the seventh, and Bochy didn’t hesitate to visit the cash window. He replaced Lincecum, who threw 105 pitches while holding the Padres to three hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six.
Lincecum’s 23 scoreless innings were six short of matching his career high, which he set in 2009.
Jeremy Affeldt continues to be a difference maker in the bullpen. He retired two hitters in the seventh and two in the eighth before Bochy went to Romo to face Carlos Quentin in a 5-1 game.
It was a chance to get Romo right. It nearly cost the Giants the game. Romo walked Quentin in a feisty, nine-pitch confrontation and then his 1-0 slider to Yasmani Grandal was another cement mixer that ended up in the right field bleachers.
It was the seventh homer Romo has allowed this season, a career worst already, and six of the homers have come on sliders. He allowed just one home run on that pitch last year.
Grandal, a switch hitter, was batting left-handed. Perhaps unwisely, Romo was allowed to face another lefty, Goebbert. He got him to ground out to end the inning.
Santiago Casilla, who won’t be the unofficial closer on this team for long, got three outs on 10 pitches to register his second save in two days.
At the plate
Pence is heading to the All-Star Game for the third time in his career and the first time as a Giant, and he displays his value in games like Sunday’s victory.
He doubled to start the game against Jesse Hahn (4-2), a tough young pitcher who shut them down just two weeks earlier. Panik had a bad situational at-bat and popped up but Belt singled to get the Giants on the board.
Pence singled to start the third and then flashed all the way home when Panik followed by slashing a double into the left field corner. Belt struck out looking but Michael Morse singled through the left side to score Panik and give the Giants a 3-0 lead.
They added on in a two-run eighth when Pence and Panik led off with singles. Belt hit a sacrifice fly to score Pence and Hector Sanchez doubled in Panik with two outs to cap the rally.
Morse made a shoestring catch of Chase Headley’s sinking line drive to end the third inning.
The Padres announced 28,065 paid, and the solid orange crowd behind the visiting dugout gave Lincecum a standing ovation as he walked off the mound.
The Giants begin their four-game home-and-home Bay Bridge series with the Oakland A’s on Monday at the Coliseum. Ryan Vogelsong (5-5, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound against A’s right-hander Jesse Chavez (6-5, 3.23). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PDT. It’ll be Madison Bumgarner (9-6, 3.09) against A’s right-hander Sonny Gray (8-3, 3.08) on Tuesday in Oakland, then the series shifts for the final two games at AT&T Park. Matt Cain (1-7, 4.27) is scheduled to start against a pitcher to be announced, likely right-hander Jason Hammel in his A’s debut. Tim Hudson (7-5, 2.53) is scheduled to oppose left-hander Scott Kazmir (10-3, 2.53) in Thursday’s series finale.