San Francisco Giants

World Series notes: Lincecum sharp before exiting with back injury

Tim Lincecum came in as a reliever in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 2 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014.
Tim Lincecum came in as a reliever in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 2 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Tim Lincecum looked sharp in his first appearance of the postseason Wednesday night, retiring his first five batters. But it ended with Lincecum walking off the mound at Kauffman Stadium mid-at-bat, accompanied by a Giants trainer.

Lincecum exited after appearing to hurt himself on a pitch to Royals catcher Salvador Perez with two outs in the eighth inning. The Giants announced that Lincecum came out of the game with back tightness.

“It tightened up pretty good on him, so he had to come out of the game,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We think he’ll be fine. I’ll know more (today), but he just had to come out.”

Lincecum said he felt “something tighten up in my lower back,” on the left side, on his second-to-last pitch to Perez. “I threw one more pitch and it didn’t look so good, so I just decided to stop,” he said.

The Giants’ right-hander said he has experienced similar tightness before and has been able to “work around it.” Lincecum was pitching in a game for the first time since Sept. 28, but said he didn’t think the layoff was a factor.

“I don’t think so, just because I’ve been on the mound a few times in bullpen session and gone full-bore in those,” Lincecum said.

“Right now it feels pretty stiff,” he said. “We’ll see how it feels tomorrow.”

Before the tightness, Lincecum’s outing was encouraging, particularly given his layoff. He retired his first five hitters, including two strikeouts, and said it “felt good to throw all my pitches and get a couple strikeouts, just to let me know that my stuff’s still there.”

“It’s a combination of frustration and anger to finally get out there and hurt yourself on one pitch,” he said. “But I’m thankful for the opportunity to get out there again. I’m just going to treat this and try to keep my thumbs up and stay positive.”

Morse awed by Mays’ presence

Outfielder Michael Morse, the Giants’ player representative in the interview room before Game 2, was asked what stood out about the organization when he arrived this spring. Morse cited the constant presence of past Giants players in the clubhouse and told a story about getting hitting tips from Hall of Famer Willie Mays.

“He was actually writing something down on a piece of paper, and all I could think about was saving the piece of paper,” Morse said. “But he crumpled it up after and threw it away. I was like, “Aw, man.’

“But to me it’s amazing to see guys like that coming around the locker room. To me that makes such a winning tradition and a great atmosphere.”

Where’s the national love?

The Giants won their seventh World Series game in a row Tuesday night with Madison Bumgarner continuing his October dominance, but relatively few people across the country paid attention.

The Associated Press reported the Giants’ 7-1 win in Game 1 drew a 7.3 rating and 12.2 million viewers on Fox, according to the Nielsen ratings, breaking the previous low mark for a World Series opener – set in 2012 by Game 1 between the Giants and Detroit Tigers, which drew a 7.6 rating and 12.2 million viewers.

Coincidentally, Bochy was asked Wednesday whether he feels the Giants’ recent run of success – three World Series trips in five years – has garnered an appropriate amount of respect around the country.

“I think so,” Bochy said. “I don’t know, I don’t look around to see or ask if we’re getting respected.”

Matt Kawahara

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