Bochy on Lincecum: 'This is something he can build on'
Tim Lincecum gave the Giants seven innings for just the fifth time in 12 starts this season. (AP)
SAN FRANCISCO – There was little margin for error Tuesday night for Tim Lincecum, and the right-hander proved up to the challenge with a turn-back-the-clock performance.
The two-time Cy Young winner dominated the Toronto Blue Jays for seven innings in the Giants’ 2-1 victory at AT&T Park.
The Giants managed just six hits, and their sole offensive output came courtesy of Andres Torres’ two-run homer in the second inning off Josh Johnson (0-2). That was all Lincecum (4-5) needed in one of his finest outings of an inconsistent 2013 season.
He came in having lost five of his past six decisions, allowing 27 earned runs in 42 1/3 innings over that span. But he gave up just three hits and one run Tuesday, striking out six and completing seven innings for just the fifth time in 12 starts this season.
It was a much-needed effort for the Giants, who came in having lost 11 of their previous 18. They are home for just this brief two-game interleague homestand before heading out on a challenging three-city road trip.
This night started out with curiosity about how former Giant Melky Cabrera would be received by the AT&T Park crowd (he went 2 for 4 and was booed heartily). It ended up being all about Lincecum and his work on the mound in a game that clocked in at just 2 hours, 16 minutes.
Starting pitching report Lincecum’s outing was just the fifth quality start by a Giants pitcher in their past 20 games. A key for him was control. He issued just one walk – which oddly enough came against Johnson, the pitcher. The right-hander came in having allowed 14 walks over his previous five starts. The only run he gave up came in the first, when Edwin Encarnacion belted a 1-0 pitch deep over the center field wall. From that point on, Lincecum retired 18 of his final 20 batters. The Giants can only hope that June brings a new storyline for Lincecum. He posted a 6.37 ERA in the month of May, sixth-highest among National League starters.
Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo slammed the door over the final two innings. Romo collected his 16th save, but it was just his fourth in the Giants’ last 24 games.
At the plate
The Giants couldn’t muster much against Johnson. They managed just six hits but did all the damage that was required in the second. With Hunter Pence on second base in the second, Torres connected on a 1-1 pitch and sent it over the center field wall for a two-run homer. The running game worked well for San Francisco, as Gregor Blanco and Pence each stole bases, but the Giants couldn’t cash in with men in scoring position for the most part.
In the field
A throwing error by Toronto third baseman Edwin Encarnacion in the second proved costly, as Torres followed two batters later with his two-run shot.
Lincecum lived dangerously in the early innings, as three Blue Jays hitters flied out to the warning track in left field. Then he got big-time help in the sixth. With two runners on and one out, Jose Bautista hit a rocket right to third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who snagged it and threw to second. Marco Scutaro made an acrobatic stretch to catch the throw and keep his foot on the bag to complete the inning-ending double play. It appeared Scutaro might have dropped the ball before completing the play, but it was ruled he held on long enough to complete the play.
Toronto manager John Gibbons argued with second base ump Alfonso Marquez, who earned the wrath of Giants fans on the last homestand for two controversial calls in a win over the Colorado Rockies.
Attendance was announced at 41,981. … Didn’t see many Melk Men included in that total.
A Barry Zito start in San Francisco usually means good things for the Giants. They’re 7-0 this season with Zito taking the mound at AT&T Park. He’ll oppose knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, last year’s N.L. Cy Young winner, who has posted a 5.18 ERA so far in his first season with the Jays. First pitch is 12:45 p.m.