Lincecum fans 11; Giants hit three homers in 6-3 win
PHOENIX – San Francisco’s push to make the playoffs has gained some serious momentum – Tim Lincecum is back to his old self.
The ultra-lanky right-hander was almost perfect through six innings and three Giants homered Tuesday night in a 6-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
San Francisco has won four straight and six of seven, keeping up the pressure on San Diego in the NL West. The Giants remained a game behind the first-place Padres, who beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1, and moved within one game of Atlanta, which leads the wild-card standings.
Lincecum, winner of the NL Cy Young Award the last two seasons, struck out 11 in 6 2-3 innings. He gave up three runs in the seventh, but before that he was, as teammate Freddy Sanchez said, “electric.”
“He got some balls up there that last inning, but without question that was quite a job he did there,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s the Timmy that we know.”
Lincecum (13-9) called it his best stuff since his 13-strikeout performance against Florida four months ago. He retired his first 12 batters and 17 of the first 18. The only Arizona baserunner in that span was Miguel Montero, who singled with one out in the fifth.
“It starts just taking over,” Lincecum said. “You start not thinking too much and things just start happening second nature and on their own. I got in that rhythm today early on in the first inning and just took it into the rest of the game.”
The Diamondbacks finally broke through in the seventh. Lincecum gave up three runs and five hits with no walks.
“Don’t be fooled by the fact he isn’t pitching 96 (mph) anymore,” Arizona interim manager Kirk Gibson said. “He gets all his pitches over. He knows how to pitch.”
Lincecum has won two in a row since an awful August, when he went 0-5 with a 7.82 ERA.
“When you see that he’s throwing like that early on, I think it lifts the whole team,” Sanchez said. “He had his good stuff working today. He was electric.”
Sanchez, Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell homered off Barry Enright (6-3), who blanked the Giants through seven innings late last month.
Since closer Brian Wilson had pitched three days in a row, Jeremy Affeldt came on and induced a game-ending double play for a one-pitch save. It was his fourth of the season.
Chris Young homered for the Diamondbacks in a game that took just 2 hours, 16 minutes – Arizona’s shortest of the year.
Lincecum had a 6-0 lead before faltering in the seventh. Kelly Johnson led off the inning with a triple and Young followed with his 24th home run.
Lincecum fanned Adam LaRoche, then Montero singled. Brandon Allen struck out for the third time, but Tony Abreu’s RBI triple to left-center cut the lead to 6-3 and ended Lincecum’s night.
Enright had not allowed more than three runs in any of his first 12 major league starts since he was called up from Double-A Mobile. The Giants, though, scored that many in the first inning off the 24-year-old right-hander, two on Huff’s 23rd home run.
After three scoreless innings, the Giants got a solo homer from Sanchez in the fifth and a two-run shot from Burrell in the sixth.
Andres Torres opened the game with a double. With one out, Huff hit Enright’s first pitch deep into the seats in right field. Buster Posey followed with a shot that traveled some 415 feet and hit high off the wall in center for a double. He scored on Jose Guillen’s two-out single off the bullpen fence in left.
“They were aggressive,” Enright said. “Torres swung at the very first pitch. San Diego did that to me the last start and I think a lot of teams knowing I will be around the plate will do that as well. It is an adjustment I will have to make.”
Enright entered with the second-best ERA in the majors (2.45) among rookies with a minimum of 12 starts, trailing only Jaime Garcia’s 2.35 for St. Louis. The three homers were the most he had allowed in a game.
Notes: Lincecum is 43-3 when the Giants score at least three runs for him. … The Chase Field roof was open for the first time since June 11. … The Diamondbacks were without 3B Mark Reynolds because of a bruised right hand. … The Diamondbacks said an MRI on OF Justin Upton’s sore left shoulder showed no significant damage. … San Francisco 3B Pablo Sandoval got the night off. … Arizona recalled OF Cole Gillespie from Triple-A Reno, his third stint with the team this season.