By: Malaika Bobino
San Francisco, CA – If there was any doubt, Tim Lincecum proved he belongs in the starting rotation despite talks of returning to the bullpen. He was available as a reliever during the postseason and speculation arose once again.
“No, thought about sending him down,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We need Timmy to get on track. He’s a hard one to figure out, because he’s had great stuff.”
A enigma no more, Lincecum earned his fourth start of the season. The Giants beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 with Tim throwing 7.0 quality innings. He allowed just one run on three hits, one walk and six strikeouts.
Last weekend Lincecum didn’t hesitate to say, “Whatever they need, I’ll do.” Bochy had considered using the right-handed pitcher out of the bullpen due to a double- header in St. Louis. But reliever Chad Gaudin was used instead due to the loss of Ryan Vogelsong on the disabled list.
The last time Tim won his start was on May 12th (Mother’s Day). But tonight he showed signs of his old self, issuing one free pass despite entering the game being tied for third in the National League with 31 walks. He pounded the strike zone and became more aggressive with his fastball.
“Working on my fastball to both sides of the plate, that was the biggest thing today,” he explained. “It opened up my secondary pitches. I expanded the zone and tried to stay aggressive.”
After giving up a home run to Edwin Encarnacion in the first frame, Tim regained his command and struck out the next 14 batters he faced. Leaving little room for error, the defense backed him and prevent any runs over the eight innings.
The Blue Jays struggled offensively despite Josh Johnson returning to the mound after missing a month with a right triceps injury. He pitched a good game however, Lincecum was better.
Toronto tried to rally a come a comeback in the sixth with one out and two runners on at first and second base. Joe Bautista lined out to Pablo Sandoval for the double play. A controversial call went in favor of San Francisco when Sandoval’s throw to second went wide of the bag.
Second baseman Marco Scutaro caught the ball while maintaining his footing on the bag put then fell and the ball popped out of his glove. Umpire Alfonso Marquez ruled he had possession to end the inning with Tim giving a fist pump as he walked off the mound.
“[Marquez] thought he was on the bag and he had it,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “I just didn’t think he ever had possession of it. It happened so fast and everything was kind of out of control but third out, they’re not going to get together and check that. That’s the way it goes.”
Top of the seventh inning Lincecum walked toward the dugout to a standing ovation. After the game, he fielded questions with an unemotional stance stating that he would continue to better himself for his next start knowing coming out of the bullpen is no longer an option.
Andres Torres recorded his second home run of the season when he blasted a two-run homer in the second inning to give the Giants a 2-1 lead. Johnson lacked support as Encarnacion began the inning with a throwing error advancing Hunter Pence to first to set up the play.
“It felt good to out there and to go to battle with these guys,” said Josh. “Unfortunately, I made a couple of mistakes I can’t take back but they were huge.”