Speedy Phillies center fielder Ben Revere stood on first base after leading off Sunday’s game with a single off Tim Lincecum, and behind the plate, Giants catcher Andrew Susac knew Revere would be running. Revere at the time had converted 34 of his 38 stolen-base attempts, while last week in Kansas City, Mo., the Royals had stolen six bases against Lincecum, most with Susac behind the plate.
Revere broke on Lincecum’s third pitch to Jimmy Rollins, a 1-1 changeup low and away. Rollins did not swing, and Susac threw a dart to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who tagged Revere for the first out of the inning. By the time Lincecum recorded the third out, he had thrown 29 pitches while allowing four Phillies to reach base and one to score – but it could have been worse.
That was the theme in the Giants’ 5-2 win on Sunday for Lincecum, who exhibited shaky command from the outset, lasted just five innings and pitched with runners on base in all of them, and still recorded his first win since July 11. The Giants, meanwhile, snapped a longer drought – they won consecutive home games for the first time since early June.
Manager Bruce Bochy said he thought Saturday’s 6-5 win, in which the Giants rallied from a four-run deficit, was “probably our biggest game in quite a while. Today, Timmy, he found a way to keep them at bay … because that game could’ve gotten out of hand.”
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Catching Revere stealing proved key in the first when Lincecum walked Rollins and gave up a triple to Chase Utley that resulted in only one run. Lincecum walked Ryan Howard, but retired Marlon Byrd and Grady Sizemore to prevent a bigger inning. Lincecum said he’d made a conscious effort after Revere’s single to be quick to the plate against Rollins, using a slide-step on the 1-1 pitch.
“He held the runner well, which is what helped me,” Susac said. “He did a good job of controlling the running game all day.”
The Phillies put men on first and third again with two outs in the second, but Lincecum struck out Rollins to escape. His command faltered again in the third, though – after two quick outs, the Phillies loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, and Lincecum walked No. 8 hitter Cody Asche to force in a run. He recovered to strike out opposing pitcher David Buchanan to end the inning.
By then, Lincecum had thrown 75 pitches already, and the Giants had Yusmeiro Petit warming up in the bullpen. Petit got up again in the fourth and the fifth innings – and both times returned to his seat unused. Lincecum pitched around a leadoff single by Revere in the fourth, and induced a double play on a 3-1 changeup to Sizemore after he had hit Byrd with a pitch to start the fifth.
“I thought the big pitch was the 3-1 count, getting a double-play ball there,” Bochy later said. “It saved him and us.”
According to baseball-reference.com, it was the 16th time in Lincecum’s career he has allowed 12 or more baserunners in a game. Sunday was just the third of those games where the Giants went on to win, and it was the first time Lincecum himself earned the win when allowing 12 runners and completing no more than five innings.
“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.”
Lincecum left with a lead thanks to the bottom half of the Giants’ lineup, which accounted for all but one of their 11 hits. Michael Morse had three of them and scored along with Susac in the second when Brandon Crawford hit a two-out single to right and Byrd’s throw to third base got away from Asche. Morse also scored after a leadoff single in the fourth on a single by Susac that gave the Giants a 3-2 lead.
After Lincecum departed, four Giants relievers recorded the final 12 outs, including nine by strikeout. At one point, Javier Lopez, Jean Machi and Sergio Romo combined to strike out six Phillies in a row, and Santiago Casilla notched two more while pitching the ninth for the save.
While the Giants won their first series at AT&T Park since July 11-13, it wasn’t all good news. Joe Panik, who went 8 for 19 on the homestand and has helped stabilize the Giants’ second-base situation, dislocated his left little finger diving into second base in the eighth.
Panik said X-rays after the game were negative and that he considers himself day-to-day, but neither he nor Bochy could say when Panik will return.