Tim Lincecum started the game Wednesday afternoon by striking out Will Venable and Logan Forsythe of the Padres in impressive fashion. Hitting the corners with 92 mph fastballs, coupled with his confidant demeanor on the mound, it suddenly felt like Timmy was really back.
It was a fleeting moment as the Padres next hitter Chase Headley launched a middle of the plate fastball over the centerfield wall, one of two home runs Lincecum would give up on the day. Missing location all afternoon, Lincecum was unable to make it through the fifth as the Padres beat the Giants 6-3.
Lincecum surrendered the second home run in the top of the fifth to Jesus Guzman, an 89 mph 3-1 fastball that Guzman crushed into the left field bleachers.
After Lincecum walked the next hitter, Bruce Bochy pulled Timmy, ending his day with five earned runs on seven hits and three walks. The one bright spot for Lincecum was his eight strike outs, which Bochy attributed to his “good stuff."
“I thought he came out and looked crisp, had a good fastball going, he just ran some deep counts. He’s [one] put away from getting out of one inning on the flare that fell in there and that didn’t help matters.”
Bochy continued about the positive side of Lincecum’s latest outing.
“I look more at how he started the game, he really looked like he was going to be sharp. He was showing pretty good command, but as the game went he struggled getting the ball where he wanted it. Like I said, [if] there’s a break there it’s a different ballgame, but that’s baseball.”
Lincecum, who did have a 15 scoreless inning streak at home until Headley snapped it in the first inning, said he also felt encouraged by his “stuff," but felt his location was an issue.
“I felt like my stuff was pretty good in the beginning of the game but I started missing my spots more as the game went on. I just have to get back to executing better and get a better result out it.”
After scoring a run in the first inning to tie the game at one, the Giants offense was shut down by the Padres starter Jason Marquis. Going seven and one-third innings, Marquis allowed only one run on three hits, matching Lincecum with eight strikeouts.
The Giants made their biggest noise in the bottom of eighth as they rallied for two runs on three singles after Brandon Belt reached second on a two-base error to lead off the inning.
With two on and two out and Melky Cabrera representing the tying run at the plate, the Padres manager Bud Black brought in his closer Huston Street.
Cabrera struck out on four pitches, the last two of which were nasty changeups, and the threat was ended.
Belt would hit a two-out double to snap a 16 at-bat hitless streak in the ninth, but was stranded at second when Joaquin Arias grounded out to end the game.
The Giants missed another opportunity to sweep an opponent on Wednesday as they’ve completed only three sweeps in eleven opportunities this year.
The Giants are off on Thursday before starting an important series with their storied rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, also the team right behind them in the NL West.
Friday night the Giants will send Matt Cain (10-3) to the mound to face a Dodgers lineup that is much improved since the last time they were at AT&T Park in late June.
Not only is Matt Kemp back in the lineup and Andre Either is at full strength, but the Dodgers new addition Hanley Ramirez will be on display, creating a potent middle of the order.
The Dodgers were going to throw Nathan Eovaldi against Cain on Friday but he was sent to the Miami Marlins as part of the Ramirez trade. Los Angeles is still undecided who they will start in game one of the pivotal series. Game time is 7:15 p.m.
(Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand)