The Giants got a rare quality start from Tim Lincecum, but didn’t give him enough run support in a 4-1 loss Wednesday at AT&T Park.
Ian Kennedy worked 7.2 innings in an Opening Day rematch against Lincecum to help the Diamondbacks avoid the sweep in San Francisco.
Starting pitching report: Tim Lincecum threw a quality start for just the second time this season, but it wasn’t enough to avoid his sixth loss.
Lincecum started the game with a dominant nine-pitch first inning, including strikeouts of leadoff man Gerardo Parra and slugger Justin Upton. But he wasn’t as sharp in the second inning, as Miguel Montero led off with a double on a 1-0 Lincecum fastball, and came around to score on an error by Gregor Blanco. The run was unearned, but Linceum had to throw 27 pitches to make it through the frame.
Lincecum was at 67 pitches through four innings, and 85 through five, but managed to keep the Diamondbacks from breaking a 1-1 tie until the sixth inning. After two quick outs, Paul Goldschmidt put a good swing on a 1-0 Lincecum change-up that didn’t dart low enough and ended up in the first row of the left-field bleachers. Goldschmidt has 12 career home runs, four of which are off Lincecum. Chris Young came a few feet shy of going back-to-back, but Melky Cabrera ended the inning with his back up against the outfield wall.
Bruce Bochy sent Lincecum back out for the seventh inning, but had to take a trip to the mound after his right-hander allowed a one-out double and a two-out walk. But the Giants’ manager elected to let Lincecum stay in, and he was rewarded when Willie Bloomquist flew out to right field.
Lincecum’s final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 6 K. He threw 112 pitches, 63 for strikes.
Bullpen report: Steve Edlefsen relieved Lincecum in the eighth inning and promptly walked leadoff man Justin Upton. Back-to-back singles scored Upton and the Diamondbacks tacked on a fourth run on Ryan Roberts’ single after a 6-4-3 double play. While Sergio Romo was available to pitch, Bruce Bochy said prior to the game that he would prefer to keep him on the bench.
Jeremy Affeldt worked the ninth inning and allowed a two-out single to Bloomquist, but struck out Upton to keep the Giants’ deficit at three runs with three outs remaining.
At the plate: Gregor Blanco led off the game with a single, but was later caught stealing as Kennedy cruised through the next eight batters in order. Leading off the fourth, Blanco sent a ball deep to the out of town scoreboard in Triple’s Alley and made it to third standing up. Ryan Theriot followed with a single to plate Blanco and tie the game.
Kennedy sat down the next six hitters in order before issuing back-to-back walks to Lincecum and Blanco to open up the sixth inning. However, Kennedy worked out of his self-inflicted jam by fielding Ryan Theriot’s bunt and forcing out Lincecum at third base, then striking out both Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey swinging to end the inning.
Angel Pagan led off the seventh inning with a single, but was kept at first by a number of Ian Kennedy pick-off attempts, and was stranded as Brandon Belt, Joaquin Arias and Brandon Crawford went down in order.
The Giants mounted another rally in the eighth, but once again it fell short. Pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff and Gregor Blanco flew out and grounded out, respectively, to open the inning before Theriot and Cabrera put together back-to-back singles. Cabrera’s opposite field knock gave him 51 hits for the month of May, tied with Randy Winn for the most hits in a month in San Francisco Giants history. Buster Posey walked to the plate as the potential tying run, but flew out to Upton in right field, keeping the Giants trailing the Diamondbacks by three runs.
The Giants had just seven hits total, left seven men on base, and went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
In the field: The Diamondbacks scored the first run of the game thanks to an error by Gregor Blanco. With Montero on third, Ryan Roberts flew out to right field, where Blanco bobbled the transfer from glove hand to throwing hand, allowing Montero to score and Chris Young to advance from first to second. Had Blanco fielded the ball cleanly, it likely would’ve been a close play at the plate.
The Giants made two impressive plays behind Lincecum in the third inning to keep the Diamondbacks off the board. Parra drove a ball back up the middle that ricocheted off Lincecum, but Brandon Crawford fielded it just behind second base and fired a strike to Brandon Belt to nail the speedy Parra for the 1-6-3 putout.
Three batters later, with a runner on first, Montero hit a hard ground ball that forced Ryan Theriot to range far to his right, where he slid to get a glove on it and threw the short way to Crawford covering second base for the inning-ending force out.
On the bases: Gregor Blanco led off the game with a single and tried to swipe second, but got a bad jump and Montero’s one-hop throw was in time to catch ‘The White Shark’ for only the second time in eight tries this season.
Attendance: The Giants announced an official attendance of 41,328 for their 109th straight sellout at AT&T Park. A solid chunk of the crowd was seen exiting while Journey’s "Don’t Stop Believing" blared over the loudspeakers.
Up next: After an off day Thursday, the Giants open the month of June with a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs at AT&T Park. Madison Bumgarner (5-4, 3.14 ERA) will look to rebound from a mediocre outing in Miami against a Cubs team that he has limited to six runs in 26.2 career innings (2.03 ERA). Dale Sveum’s lovable losers will send veteran southpaw Paul Maholm (4-3, 4.62 ERA) to the mound to oppose Bumgarner. Maholm, a Pittsburgh Pirate for seven years before joining the Cubs this season, owns a 2-1 record and 3.10 ERA in eight career starts against the Giants.