Giants & A’s

Matt Kawahara, Bay Area baseball beat writer

Panik dislocates finger in Giants’ 5-2 win

08/17/2014 6:36 PM

08/17/2014 6:41 PM

SAN FRANCISCO -- Even while winning a home series for the first time since July 11-13 and recording their first back-to-back wins at AT&T Park in nearly two months, the Giants couldn't escape Sunday without some bad news. Second baseman Joe Panik left the 5-2 win over the Phillies after dislocating his left pinkie finger in the eighth inning, and neither he nor manager Bruce Bochy could say when Panik will play next.

The good news is Panik said X-rays after the game came back negative. It's also on his non-throwing hand. Panik said now it's a matter of pain tolerance, and that he considers himself day-to-day but can't say when he'll be able to return. "It's really going to be how it reacts tomorrow," Panik said. "Right now it's sore. It's going to be sore. It's one of those things."

It's a particularly frustrating thing coming at this time for Panik, who has settled in with the bat lately while helping stabilize the Giants' situation at second base. Panik had two more hits Sunday and is 18-for-43 in his last 12 games. The Giants do have an off-day Monday before beginning a series in Chicago, giving Panik an extended chance to rest the finger.

Panik said he hurt himself diving into second base in the eighth -- he singled and took the extra base on a throw home. He did not come out of the game immediately, and in fact didn't even have the trainer come out to look at him. Panik said trainer Dave Groeschner popped the finger back into place after the inning, as he was "too much of a chicken" to try it himself.

His staying in to run the bases, though, was not lost on teammates. "They basically had to pull him out of the game," said left fielder Michael Morse. "That's the way he is. ... But hopefully he's doing all right. We need him."

Bochy said the Giants would talk about a contingency plan at second base in case Panik does need to miss games.

Otherwise, though, it was a positive day by McCovey Cove, where the 41,851 fans in attendance saw the Giants win their second home game in a row for the first time since they won five straight at AT&T Park from May 27-June 8.

"If you told me that I wouldn't believe you," said Tim Lincecum. "But we've been grinding it out here tough. We're in the dog days right now looking to turn it around and use it as a positive lift."

Lincecum also won for the first time since July 11, though it was a grind. Tomorrow's print story focuses on Lincecum's outing, in which he allowed 12 baserunners -- seven hits, four walks and a hit batter -- in five innings, threw 97 pitches and still managed to leave after the fifth with a 3-2 lead.

According to baseball-reference.com, it was the 16th time in Lincecum's career he has allowed that many baserunners in a start. It was only the third time he has won while doing so, and the first when he lasted no more than five innings. He battled command issues from the outset, throwing 51 of 97 pitches for strikes, but stranded eight runners and, as Bochy said, "made some pitches when he needed to."

"I think you dig deep in situations like that and not worry about what you got that day," Lincecum said. "Worry about the conviction you have in the pitches, and the intent on each pitch, and I think that helps more than anything.

"I felt like when I needed to I was going to that. I just left some pitches up a lot of times to put myself into those jams. But I just focused a little bit more with guys on."

That said, Lincecum continues to pitch without the command he had during his stretch of good outings in June. Opponents are hitting .368 against him in his last five starts and the first inning continues to be an issue, when he's allowed 10 runs in his last seven outings.

Catcher Andrew Susac helped Lincecum avoid what could have been a disastrous first inning by throwing out speedy leadoff man Ben Revere after Revere started the game by singling. It was just the fifth time in 39 attempts this season Revere has been caught.

Revere ran on a 1-1 changeup away, which Jimmy Rollins did not swing at, giving Susac a clear path to get off his throw. Susac also said Lincecum "held the runner well, which is what helped me. He did a good job of controlling the running game all day." Asked if he has made many better throws than this, Susac smiled and answered:

"I think I have in my lifetime. But it's fun to nab those guys who are known for stealing."

In Lincecum's last outing in Kansas City, the Royals stole six bases against him, most of them with Susac behind the plate. Susac said addressing that was "a big emphasis" going into this start, while Lincecum said he made a conscious effort to be quick to the plate to Rollins with Revere on, using a slide-step on the 1-1 pitch.

"He did a great job today," Susac said. "It showed me he cared, which was awesome."

The Giants 5-through-9 hitters accounted for all but one of their 11 hits on Sunday. That included three more from Michael Morse, who has now reached safely in nine consecutive plate appearances. That's the longest streak of Morse's career and longest by a Giants player since Bengie Molina reached in nine straight from April 11-13, 2010.

Morse reiterated today that he feels he's simply taking a better approach to the plate, looking for his pitch in a certain area of the strike zone and putting a good swing on it. Bochy's take:

"I think he's gotten his timing back, his confidence, his swagger, all those things. He's a good hitter, and he's been battling it. Like everybody, you get in a funk, you might start pressing or thinking too much.

"But he looks free and easy out there and is swinging the bat the way he can. Hopefully this continues, because he has really done a great job of lifting this club and getting some big hits for us."

Morse singled in his first three at-bats before being removed for a pinch runner in the sixth, and scored after his first two hits. Brandon Crawford drove him in with a big two-out single in the second inning -- Susac also scored when Marlon Byrd threw to third to try to nail Susac and the throw bounced away from Cody Asche -- and Susac drove in Morse in the fourth with an RBI single.

Crawford drove in another run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly in what had to be an encouraging game for him. Crawford entered the game with three hits in his last 37 at-bats, and Sunday marked his first game with multiple RBIs since July 22.

Not to be overlooked was the Giants bullpen, which recorded the final 12 outs in relief of Lincecum and got nine of them via strikeout. At one point, Javier Lopez, Jean Machi and Sergio Romo combined to strikeout six Phillies hitters in a row, and Santiago Casilla added two more pitching the ninth for the save.

According to the Giants, the three strikeouts by Lopez -- Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard -- equaled his career-high, which he has done five times (the last May 20, 2013 against the Washington Nationals).

"They were doing an outstanding job. They picked me up when they needed to," Lincecum said. "Everybody did their part and did it well, so it was fun to watch."

Bochy's take on this series, which included the Giants blowing a 3-1 lead in the eighth Friday but rallying from four down Saturday in a 6-5 win: "We just played better ball.

"(Saturday) was probably our biggest game in quite a while, getting down and they fought hard to come back. Today, Timmy, he found a way to keep them at bay, left some runners out there, made some pitches when he had to, and we had some good at-bats."

The Giants play their next six on the road, starting with a three-game series against the Cubs. The pitching probables:

Tuesday: RHP Ryan Vogelsong (7-8, 3.71) vs. LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (2-1, 3.15)

Wednesday: RHP Jake Peavy (1-3, 3.86) vs. RHP Edwin Jackson (6-13, 5.74)

Thursday: LHP Madison Bumgarner (13-9, 3.14) vs. LHP Travis Wood (7-10, 4.86)

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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