Instant Replay: Lincecum leads Giants to 5-1 win

Sandoval: I was looking change-up on HR

Instant Replay: Lincecum leads Giants to 5-1 win
May 12, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Tim Lincecum allowed just two Braves hits and issued three walks compared to seven strikeouts in his seven shutout innings Sunday. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Braves are tied for the most home runs in Major League Baseball, but you wouldn't know it after a series in San Francisco.

The Giants claimed the four-game set by smashing three home runs out of AT&T Park and defeating Atlanta 5-1 on Mother's Day.

Brandon Belt, Pablo Sandoval and Marco Scutaro contributed to Kris Medlen's developing case of whiplash, as their three home runs and seven dominant innings from Tim Lincecum punctuated San Francisco's 7-3 homestand.

The Giants homered in each of the four games against the Braves, totaling six big flies. Atlanta, meanwhile, managed just two Brian McCann home runs in the series.

Starting pitching report:
It was a vintage Timmy performance that earned Lincecum his first win against the Braves in over two years.

He started leadoff hitter Jordan Schafer with three consecutive balls less than two hours after Giants manager Bruce Bochy expressed his hope that Lincecum would put it all together, but the slight righty survived a 25-pitch first inning and made his mother proud.

Lincecum, who was torched for 10 runs on 19 hits in 12 innings over his past two starts, settled down for a quick second inning and mixed fastball, slider and change-up effectively to keep the Braves' dangerous lineup off balance all day.

[RELATED: Timing, focus, strength key in Lincecum's gem]

Ramiro Pena's infield single in the first and Jordan Schafer's ground ball up the middle in the third were the only two hits the Braves managed against the Giants starter.

Lincecum's out-pitch was working, as he recorded four of his seven strikeouts on the power change. Lincecum hadn't beat the Braves in the regular season since April 11, 2010, losing his last four consecutive starts against Atlanta while allowing 12 runs in 24 2/3 innings.

After completing the seventh inning, Lincecum walked off the mound to a standing ovation that roared louder with every step he took toward the dugout. His final line was plenty good enough for his third quality start in eight attempts this season: 7 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 7 K.

Bullpen report:
Jeremy Affeldt, who pitched a scoreless inning Saturday, began the eighth. After a defensive miscue, George Kontos was called on to clean up the first-and-third mess, and he did so on one pitch, getting Justin Upton to fly out to shortstop.

Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo teamed up to handle the ninth, and they could not preserve the shutout. Down to their final out, Braves pinch-hitter Evan Gattis roped a double to left-center field that scored the Braves' lone, harmless run.

At the plate:
As the weather heats up in the Bay Area, so too does the Giants offense. After just 14 home runs in the first 23 games of the season, the Giants have 18 big flies in their last 15 games.

Belt, Sandoval and Scutaro did the damage Sunday, taking Medlen deep in the second, third and fifth innings, respectively.

Belt's was impressive, as he went with an 89-mph two seam fastball that trailed away from him and deposited it in the left-field bleachers. But Sandoval one-upped him when he spun on an 81-mph change-up that sent kayakers into the water for his seventh career splash hit.

The Giants hit just 14 homers in their first 23 games of the season.

Scutaro's homer to left extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and he nearly had a second in the sixth inning when a fan prevented Justin Upton from making a play on Scutaro's shot to the wall. Scutaro waited on second base while umpires went to replay and curiously ruled it a double.

[GIANTS EXTRAS: Playoff baseball in May, visiting Melky, etc.]

The hit secured Scurato his sixth consecutive multi-hit game, and he's 23-for-47 (.489) over his streak. But he's not the only San Francisco player heating up.

Belt is now 5-for-12 in his last four games with a home run, two doubles, four RBI and two runs, and Brandon Crawford quietly collected another two hits to up his season batting average to .279.

Crawford extended his personal hitting streak to six games, over which he is 10-for-21 (.476).

Even with the production at the plate, the Giants were 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12.

In the field:
The Giants played sound defense behind Tim Lincecum. But with Jeremy Affeldt on the mound in the eighth, Brandon Crawford and Pablo Sandoval collided while doing the pop-up dance and allowed the Braves a first-and-third situation against George Kontos.

It was a busy day in right field for Hunter Pence, who made a trio of nice plays, and uncharacteristically, he made them look easy.

Buster Posey didn't have much of a chance cutting down Jordan Schafer in the third inning when he stole second base with a strong jump on the often slow-to-the-plate Lincecum.

Attendance:
The Giants announced a paid attendance of 42,231 for the 187th consecutive regular season sellout, the longest active streak in the majors.

No word on who is actually "WORLD'S GREATEST MOM," but it certainly could have been Lou Seal's mother Louise, who made a fourth-inning appearance with her son.

Up next:
"Passports!" was seen written on the white board in the Giants clubhouse, reminding the team of their required documentation for an interleague series north of the border. The Giants will fly to Toronto Sunday evening, giving them all of Monday to acclimate before taking on Melky Cabrera and the Blue Jays for a brief two-game set. The Giants are 8-4 all-time against the Blue Jays.

 

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