2011 San Francisco Giants Return to .500 Behind Tim Lincecum's Gem

MJ Kasprzak@BayAreaCheezhedSenior Writer IIMay 5, 2011

Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was in top form Wednesday
Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was in top form WednesdayRob Carr/Getty Images

The San Francisco Giants needed this.

A basic analysis of this team shows how it has been struggling mightily all season, and has recently suffered a few key injuries to make matters worse. What they really needed was for the pitching staff to pick up a struggling offense and get them a win.

That was exactly what they got with Tim Lincecum giving them seven scoreless innings and four relievers combining for two more. The 2-0 shutout win gives them the first two in their three-game road series with the New York Mets.

The first win came on the heroic hitting of Aubrey Huff, pinch-hitting in extra innings because he had played himself right out of the starting lineup. Huff had three hits in Wednesday's contest which, if he is finding his stroke, will go a long way in turning around the San Francisco offense.

The Giants had nine hits and four walks in this contest, with seven batters reaching base. But again, they managed just two doubles and no other extra base hits. Because they hit just 2-11 with runners in scoring position, they managed just two runs.

But in the meantime, the Giants might begin to reclaim their identity of having a dominant pitching staff. This is the way it was supposed to happen for this team.

Lincecum had a dozen strikeouts and just five hits, lowering his ERA to 2.47. The mark broke the Giants franchise record for 10-plus strikeout games by one pitcher, even though Lincecum is just over 25 years old.

Then Bruce Bochy turned it over to the top relief-tandem available—Ramos Ramirez (1.26), Javier Lopez (0.79) and Sergio Romo (0.96) gave up just one hit against two strikeouts. That got the Giants to closer Brian Wilson, who had a strong ninth (no hits or walks, two strikeouts) for the save.

The series finale is a matinee contest Thursday (10:10 am PDT) featuring Jonathan Sanchez (2-1, 2.73 ERA) against Mike Pelfrey (1-3, 7.39). Sanchez lacked control in his last outing, and will want to be better to ensure the Giants can crawl above .500.