Lincecum left to self-reflect in Seattle

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Lincecum left to self-reflect in Seattle

Its sunny in Seattle today, which doesnt fit either Tim Lincecums mood or desire. He was likely looking forward to wrapping himself in the grey and damp of his native land -- after two starts in sweltering, suffocating East Coast heat -- while he reflected on his very terrible first half of the 2012 season.Instead, hell look out the windows of his swanky sky rise apartment and see bright sun, glistening off the water, feel mild temperatures in the high-70s, and curse his luck.The weather. Just one more freakin thing he cant control. For the first time since his rookie season, Lincecum is spending the All-Star game apart from the midsummer classic festivities. Instead hes spending it as the worst starting pitcher in the majors, with a 6.42 earned-run-average.Its a crazy, unfathomable plummet -- one that no one can explain, including Lincecum. Though, God knows, he keeps trying. The kid opens a vein after every start, reaches down inside himself and pulls out first his heart and then his soul and, after some rummaging around, his ego for all of us to look at and examine and dissect.He did it again on Sunday, calling himself the weak link -- something you are unlikely to ever hear another professional athlete say about him or herself. He cant seem to help himself -- theres no tough front with Lincecum.Hes searching for answers. What he probably doesnt need to do is overanalyze everything with all his buddies or family members back in Seattle. What he probably doesnt need to do is try to escape his issues.He told reporters on Saturday that he wasnt looking to do that.No, Im going to pick up a ball and keep my mind surrounded with baseball, he said. I have to think about what Ive gone through in order to remedy this.The Giants are right not to try to skip his next start. Hes going to have a couple of days away from the game, a break in routine. And the next opponent is the Astros, the worst team in the major leagues. Last time they were in town, Matt Cain pitched a perfect game against them. And while theres no diminishing such a towering feat, history will still note that it came against the Houston Astros. The Giants may run out of patience soon with Lincecum, but not yet, not in this next scheduled start.The Astros might be a way for Lincecum to find what he needs the most -- his swagger. For all the talk about mechanics, its clear that his biggest issue is mental. You can visibly watch his bad body language take over on the mound. He seemed to get his mojo back momentarily in the last home stand after a long talk with Ryan Vogelsong between innings against the As. He came back to the mound more determined, then carried that look over into his next start against the Dodgers.
RELATED: Without pitching against A's, Vogelsong saves Giants
But whatever gains he made melted away last week in the Eastern heat wave (and, yes, using the heat is making excuses, but the reality is Lincecum has never pitched well in high heat and humidity).Lincecum is looking for an explanation, which is why he keeps using his postgame sessions as therapy. Its been terrible, he said. Its a terrible feeling.Now, back in Seattle, he needs, take a deep breath, look around the nice apartment his baseball talent bought, and watch the sun glint off the water. Its not the gloomy clouds that match his mood, but maybe he can glimpse some reason for optimism on the horizon.And he needs to keep the ball in his hand and his mind, like he promised.

Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins

Former Giants top prospect earns first career MLB win with Twins

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Adalberto Mejia made the most of his brief stint back in the majors with the Minnesota Twins by getting his first big-league win.

Robbie Grossman, Max Kepler and Chris Gimenez all homered to help Mejia and the Twins beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4 in the second game Sunday to salvage a split of a doubleheader.

Mejia (1-1) was the Twins' 26th active player for the second game and allowed three runs in seven innings, on two home runs by Salvador Perez - who also went deep in the first game.

Mejia's reward for his first win? A trip back to Triple-A Rochester.

"I'm going to go down there and work on the things they told me work on," Mejia said through interpreter Carlos Font. "Then it will be up to them to see when I get back."

Grossman and Kepler each hit two-run homers in the first inning, and Brian Dozier had an RBI double in the second off Ian Kennedy (0-4) in his first game back from the disabled list.

Brandon Moss hit two of Kansas City's four home runs in the opener of the doubleheader, and Perez and Jorge Bonifacio each hit two-run homers to lead the Royals to a 6-4 win earlier in the day.

With the split, the Twins are now 7-1 on the year against the Royals. Kansas City's win in the first game snapped a seven-game losing streak against Minnesota.

Kennedy, who returned after missing time with a hamstring strain, said he felt fine physically. He walked three batters and gave up a pair of two-run homers in just two innings Sunday.

"He was way out of whack," manager Ned Yost said. "His leg was fine. He felt normal, felt good. Just timing was off, rhythm was off."

MINOR'S WIN

Mike Minor's road back to the majors was not an easy one. Shoulder surgery kept him out of the majors for two years and resulted in a move to the bullpen.

Minor got his first victory since 2014 with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief in the first game Sunday. He relieved Jake Junis with a 5-2 lead in the fifth, two outs and two on. The 29-year-old left-hander walked Max Kepler, then retired Kennys Vargas on a popup. Minor retired the side in order in the sixth.

Minor had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder in May 13, 2015, and did not appear in the major leagues in 2015 and 2016. Minor, who signed a $7.25 million, two-year contract with the Royals in February 2016, got his first major league victory since Aug. 28, 2014, for Atlanta.

JUNIS' FIRST START

Kansas City's Jake Junis, a 24-year-old right-hander, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha and made his first big league start after a pair of relief appearances. He allowed two runs, five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings, leaving after RBI singles from Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano.

Junis found out Saturday that he would be making his first career start. He didn't pitch deep enough to get the win, but impressed manager Ned Yost before the Royals optioned Junis back to Omaha after the game.

"I thought he did a nice job," Yost said. "We tried to get him through that fifth inning, but we needed to win this game."

ROYALS MOVES

Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon missed the second game to join his wife, who is due to give birth on Monday. Infielder Raul Mondesi replacing Gordon on the roster but was optioned to Triple-A Omaha after the game. That means LHP Miguel Almonte, initially the Royals' 26th active player Sunday, remains on the 25-man roster. ... RHP Al Alburquerque was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for Junis.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Royals: RHP Nate Karns had his pitching arm evaluated after Friday's start against Minnesota. Manager Ned Yost said fluid was found in the elbow area but Karns does not have a strain. Karns exited his start Friday after five innings and threw just 72 pitches due to stiffness in his arm.

Twins: RHP Phil Hughes was placed on the 10-day disabled list Sunday with shoulder discomfort. Hughes took the loss in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader. Right-hander Kyle Gibson will take Hughes' place on the roster.

UP NEXT

Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (5-2, 2.03 ERA) starts Monday's series opener at the New York Yankees.

Twins: RHP Kyle Gibson (0-4, 8.20 ERA) will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start Monday against Baltimore.

Heston makes first start with Mariners, allows seven in three innings

Heston makes first start with Mariners, allows seven in three innings

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SEATTLE -- Yolmer Sanchez had a two-run single in Chicago's five-run first inning, Derek Holland pitch eight strong innings and the White Sox beat the Seattle Mariners 8-1 Sunday.

Tim Anderson had three hits and two RBIs for the White Sox, including his fifth home run - a solo shot in the third inning - and Matt Davidson added two hits and two RBIs. Sanchez's single in the first extended his hitting streak to 12 games, tying a career high.

Holland (4-3) gave up a run and six hits while striking out six and walking two. He finished his longest outing of the season by striking out the side in the eighth inning.

Nelson Cruz hit his 11th home run in the seventh for the Mariners, who have lost three straight.

Seattle starter Chris Heston (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before the game to make his first major league start since Oct. 2, 2015, was roughed up for seven runs and seven hits in three innings. He walked the bases loaded in the first before giving up four straight hits.

Heston became the 11th pitcher to start for the Mariners this season, the most in the major leagues. In his only other appearance this year, he gave up five runs on seven hits in two innings of relief against Detroit on April 25.

LET'S TURN TWO

The White Sox turned four double plays, equaling the team's season high - set Saturday.

TRAINERS ROOM

White Sox: OF Leury Garcia was back in the starting lineup after missing two games. Garcia was hit on the elbow in Thursday's series opener.

Mariners: 1B Danny Valencia missed his second straight game after hurting his left wrist on a slide in Friday's game, and had an MRI Sunday. First baseman Daniel Vogelbach was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma and started at first base in his place. ... Seattle manager Scott Servais said LHP James Paxton, on the DL with a left forearm strain, will probably have a rehab assignment at Double-A Arkansas later this week. If all goes well Paxton could return after the Mariners' upcoming eight-game road trip. ... OF Mitch Haniger (strained right oblique) will also likely start a rehab assignment this week.

UP NEXT

White Sox: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (3-4, 4.29) starts in Chicago's series opener at Arizona. Gonzalez is 0-4 with a 6.94 ERA in his last four starts.

Mariners: Seattle has a day off Monday. RHP Christian Bergman starts Tuesday at Washington. Bergman is coming off the best outing of his career, when he held Oakland scoreless over 7 1/3 innings with a career high nine strikeouts.