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Lincecum, Giants down D'backs


Lincecum, Giants down D'backs
PHOENIX The Arizona Diamondbacks finally bit Tim Lincecum in the butt.

He didn't turn the other cheek.

Lincecum was hit on his posterior by a line drive in the third inning Friday night, but he responded with his own fusillade to dominate the Diamondbacks for the second consecutive start. Bengie Molina hit a solo home run and a two-run double to back the Giants' skinny ace in a 5-1 victory at Chase Field.

The Giants rode Lincecum's 12 strikeouts over eight innings to their first road win in seven tries this season, and it figured they would feel at home in Arizona's dry air. Edgar Renteria hit a solo homer in the first inning as the Giants rediscovered the power they displayed in the Cactus League.

When Lincecum faced the Diamondbacks last weekend at AT&T Park, he tied a career high with 13 strikeouts in eight innings. But he didn't receive a decision because the Giants failed to score off left-hander Doug Davis.

The result was diffferent this time. Lincecum wasn't. He mixed his curveball and changeup with mid-90s heat to hold a free-swinging lineup to five hits. Over the past two starts, Lincecum has held the Diamondbacks to a .179 average while striking out 25 and walking two in 58 plate appearances.

The Giants broke out some of the lively bats they used in the spring, when they were one of the best offensive clubs in the league. During the exhibition season, they ranked second among NL teams with a .304 average and 46 home runs. Pablo Sandoval's .457 average led all major leaguers.

Yet they entered having scored two runs or less in seven of their last nine games. Stellar pitching kept them from an embarrassing streak.

They got more of it Friday.

It was apparent from the outset that Lincecum had buzzsaw stuff. But he faced a jam after shearing Eric Byrnes' bat in half on an infield single. Stephen Drew followed with a one-out double to the gap that center fielder Aaron Rowand cut off to prevent Byrnes from scoring.

Lincecum followed by striking out human windmill Mark Reynolds, then got Chad Tracy to ground out.

Byrnes reached again in the third inning, hitting a drive that bounced off the top padding of the wall in left field and deflecting into play. Arizona manager Bob Melvin appeared to cajole umpires into reviewing a replay, even though fans clearly didn't interfere with the ball.

If Melvin was trying to ice Lincecum, the ploy didn't work. Crew chief Jerry Crawford needed less than two minutes to come back onto the field and signal a double. And Byrnes ran the Diamondbacks out of the inning when he was thrown out trying to advance on a pitch that temporarily squirted away from Molina.

It took opposing pitcher Doug Davis to spoil Lincecum's shutout. Davis lined a single to center that scored Justin Upton in the fifth inning.

It was the third hit Lincecum has allowed to opposing pitchers this season. They are 3-for-8 off him. Entering the year, Lincecum had allowed just eight hits to opposing pitchers in 93 at-bats.

Felipe Lopez might have had the hardest hit ball off Lincecum, a liner up the middle the deflected off his right upper thigh region. Lincecum recovered to scoop up the ball and flip to first base. But he doesn't have much meat on his bones, so trainers bounded out of the dugout to check on him.

Lincecum didn't seem affected in the slightest. He struck out two batters in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. He reached double-digit strikeouts for the 13th time in his career and the fourth time against the Diamondbacks.

The Giants broke the game open in the seventh after driving Davis to the dugout. Randy Winn walked to load the bases and Molina followed with a double off Chris Young's glove in deep center field.

Giants 5, D'backs 1 ?Today: in Arizona, 5:10 p.m. ?TV/Radio: CSN/KNBR (680)


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 26, 2009

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