Tim Lincecum pitched a six-hitter for his fourth career shutout and Pablo Sandoval hit an RBI double to help the San Francisco Giants open the second half of the season with a 2-0 victory over the New York Mets on Thursday night.
Lincecum (10-4) is coming off his third straight trip to the All-Star game, but was able to start the first game after the break because he was not used in Tuesday night's game in Anaheim.
The Giants fans who may have been disappointed not to see their two-time Cy Young winner appear in the All-Star game were more than happy to see him dominate in a game that counts in the standings for the Giants.
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They cheered loudly when he was sent to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning and he responded by slapping a single to left field. He then finished the Mets off on the mound with a perfect ninth for his first shutout since throwing a two-hitter against St. Louis on June 29, 2009.
San Francisco has won eight of 10 games following a seven-game losing streak.
The Mets' only real threat against Lincecum came in the fifth inning when Josh Thole hit a line drive through the box that glanced off Lincecum's back for a single. That put runners on first and second with no outs. But Lincecum retired the next three hitters, getting Angel Pagan on a flyout to right field with runners on second and third to escape the jam.
Lincecum struck out five and walked one in the 110-pitch outing. He now has had two straight strong starts after a rare pair of rough outings against Boston and Colorado.
The Mets were hoping for a big offensive boost this game with the return of five-time All-Star Carlos Beltran to the lineup. Beltran had been out since undergoing offseason surgery on his right knee. He batted cleanup and played center field, but was caught stealing after his only hit in the game.
The Mets managed just five other hits off Lincecum in the opener of an 11-game road trip. Lincecum needed to be sharp in this game as the Giants struggled to generate much offense against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (6-3).
Dickey allowed just five hits in seven innings and was only really threatened in the second.
Buster Posey led off that inning with a single and advanced to third on a groundout and wild pitch. Sandoval then lined a ball off the brick archways in right field so hard that it rolled almost to center field before Pagan chased it down.
The Giants managed nothing else against Dickey, but managed to win for just the third time in 29 games this season when they scored two or fewer runs. They added a run in the eighth on an RBI fielder's choice by Posey.