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Lincecum hot, Giants offense not

Lincecum hot, Giants offense not
SAN FRANCISCO Tim Lincecum is back in form. Unfortunately for the Giants , so is their offense.

Lincecum captured his magic once again, striking out 13 over eight shutout innings to right himself after two subpar outings. But the Giants provided no offensive support, and Arizona's Chris Young hit a two-run single off Brian Wilson in the ninth that sent the Diamondbacks to a 2-0 victory at AT&T Park on Saturday.

The Giants failed to push across a run despite getting at least one base runner in seven of nine innings against pedestrian lefty Doug Davis and closer Chad Qualls. Emmanuel Burriss was thrown out trying a straight steal of home plate in the first inning, and the Giants twice failed to drive in a runner from third with less than two outs.

"This is not a case where there is no hope," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You know these guys are going to hit better than they're hitting."

Before the series opener Friday, Giants hitting coach Carney Lansford called a meeting with his offensive players to go over situations and encourage them to relax. But they're still squeezing sawdust.

The Giants were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and are hitting .156 in those situations over the past six games (5-for-32). In their past eight games, they have scored just 16 runs and their starting pitcher has received one run or less in seven of those games.

"Guys have been pounding us in," Lansford said. "We've got to fight through it. We're going to need everybody. It's going to take some early hits in a game so they can relax."

Burriss gave them an early opportunity. He hit a one-out single, advanced on a throwing error and stole third base. Pablo Sandoval failed to cash in the run, hitting a grounder at third baseman Mark Reynolds.

Burriss noticed he could get more than a third of the way down the line against Northgate High product Davis, who has an especially slow delivery. So he took off on the second pitch. But Davis was quicker to the plate and threw a cutter that put catcher Miguel Montero in perfect position to make a tag.

"We had nothing on," Bochy said. "We had our cleanup hitter up. You know young players are aggressive, but that was overaggressive there."

Burriss might have gotten the idea into his head last week, when the team played at Dodger Stadium for Jackie Robinson Day. The scoreboard played old footage Robinson's stealing of home several times.

Burriss didn't sound apologetic.

"Bengie is our RBI guy and all, but I thought I could make it," Burriss said. "If you make a play like that, everyone loves you."

Lincecum received a shower of support from the crowd as his strikeout total climbed. He matched his career high when he fanned Cal product Conor Jackson to a standing ovation in the eighth.

Bochy didn't want to send Lincecum out for the ninth in a scoreless game, citing the bronchitis that sapped him this spring and the stomach ailment that caused the Giants to fly him home a day early from Los Angeles.

"That's a pretty good jump for him, where he's been sick," Bochy said. "He had to work hard in the eighth. He did his job."

Lincecum said stamina wasn't a factor and maintained that the struggles in his first two starts were mechanical in nature. He hadn't paid mind to whispers that he threw too many pitches last season, that he's too frail or that he's falling back to earth.

"It's been that way my whole life," he said. "It gives me motivation to get better. My expectations are better than anybody's better than the fans', better than my dad's."

Expectations couldn't be lower for the Giants offense.

"It gives us something to think about for the rest of this series and the rest of this season," Burriss said. "We've gotta back these guys up."

Contact Andrew Baggarly at 2,Giants 0Today: Diamondbacks (Max Scherzer 0-0) at Giants (Randy Johnson 0-2), 1:05 p.m. TV: CSNBA. Radio: 680-AM

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 19, 2009

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