Giants & A’s

Matt Kawahara, Bay Area baseball beat writer

Pitch count is blamed in defeat

07/23/2013 12:00 AM

07/23/2013 6:46 AM

SAN FRANCISCO – Tim Lincecum received a rousing ovation when announced before Monday's game against the Reds, his first start at home since his July 13 no-hitter in San Diego.

The applause built as Lincecum made a run-saving play in the first inning, chasing down Reds leadoff man Shin-Soo Choo along the third-base line, and seemed fit to explode with Lincecum one out from escaping a bases-loaded jam.

That all changed with one pitch to Reds third baseman Todd Frazier, who hit Lincecum's 1-0 offering over the head of Andres Torres in center field for a bases-clearing double.

It opened the floodgates for the Reds, who tagged Lincecum for a career-high eight earned runs in the first four innings en route to an 11-0 win over the Giants at AT&T Park.

Nine days removed from throwing 148 pitches against the Padres, Lincecum needed 78 to get 11 outs Monday while allowing nine hits and a walk. He threw 31 of them in the first inning, walking Jay Bruce to load the bases with two outs after getting ahead of Bruce 0-2, then allowing the three-run double to Frazier.

"He had great stuff and was close to getting out of that, but he threw quite a few pitches, and it seemed like that caught up with him," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You're so close to getting out of it, I'm sure that was deflating for him."

Lincecum said he didn't think the inning – or his high pitch count in San Diego – affected him physically Monday. But he agreed that "deflating" was an appropriate way to describe the first.

"A little bit, yeah," he said. "I could've made a better pitch (to Frazier), even gone to a different pitch. But fastball down the middle, and he crushed it."

Mistakes over the plate to Choo, Devin Mesoraco and Jay Bruce in the next two innings all became solo home runs, as Lincecum matched his career high for homers allowed in a game.

George Kontos began warming up in the third inning and entered with runners on the corners in the fourth to face Brandon Phillips, who promptly doubled to put the Reds ahead 8-0 and close the book on Lincecum's shortest outing of the season.

"After (the first inning), you've just got to settle down and make better pitches," said Lincecum. "I left a lot of pitches up in the zone."

With a doubleheader today, Bochy replaced catcher Buster Posey with Guillermo Quiroz in the fifth.

Not so easily rescued was the Giants' bullpen. Kontos bore the brunt with a career-high 63 pitches, allowing Bochy to complete the game using just three relievers.

He had no need to play matchups, with the Giants getting handcuffed by Bronson Arroyo, who now has a 1.66 ERA in his last 10 starts against them. Arroyo scattered seven singles and had his sixth career shutout preserved by Derrick Robinson, who reached over the wall in center to bring back Jeff Francoeur's deep fly ball for the final out.

The Giants have been outscored 24-3 by the Reds in their four games this season and shut out twice, including Homer Bailey's no-hitter. Meanwhile, they lost a game on the new leaders in the National League West, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who moved a half-game ahead of Arizona with their eighth win in 10 games.

"Honestly, it's a little embarrassing," first baseman Brandon Belt said of the offensive struggles. "It's something we definitely want to change. We can stop it right now and go out and win a couple games and be right back in it."

Notes – Bochy said left-hander Eric Surkamp will start the opener of today's doubleheader against the Reds, with Barry Zito starting the nightcap. Surkamp, who made six starts for the Giants in 2011, will make his first major-league start since undergoing Tommy John surgery last July 24.

Zito will start the makeup game, in which the Giants will wear their road uniforms and the Reds will bat last.

According to multiple reports, the Giants had representatives at a throwing session for former closer Brian Wilson on Monday. Wilson, a free agent, hasn't pitched in the majors since last April after undergoing Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.

Third baseman Joaquin Arias (appendicitis) is eligible to come off the disabled list today, but Bochy said that is unlikely.

Call The Bee's Matt Kawahara, (916) 321-1015. Read his Bay Area Baseball blog at blogs.sacbee.com/bay-area-baseball/. Follow him on Twitter @matthewkawahara.

About This Blog

Matt Kawahara has covered baseball for The Sacramento Bee for three years. Kawahara, a McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley graduate, joined The Bee in 2010. Before joining Sports, he was a general assignment news reporter. Reach Kawahara at mkawahara@sacbee.com. Twitter: @matthewkawahara.

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