Dodgers squander chances in loss to Giants

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tim Lincecum walked
seven, matching a career worst, yet still managed to get the win when
Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence homered to lead the San Francisco Giants
to a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday night in the
rubber game of their season-opening series.

Lincecum (1-0) threw 91 pitches in five
innings, but limited the Dodgers to two unearned runs and three hits. He
struck out four while outperforming Josh Beckett in a matchup of
marquee pitchers coming off the worst season of their respective
careers.

Beckett (0-1) was charged with five
runs, three earned, and six hits in six innings. Carl Crawford had three
hits and scored a run for Los Angeles.

Lincecum won Cy Young Awards in 2008 and
2009 and led the NL in strikeouts for three consecutive years. But the
right-hander was 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA last season, then was relegated
to bullpen duty in the playoffs — allowing an earned run and three hits
in 13 innings with 17 strikeouts.

Lincecum, embarking on the final year of
a two-year, $40.5 million contract, was the Giants’ opening day pitcher
in each of the previous four seasons. The 28-year-old right-hander
missed two starts in spring training because of a blister problem and
was slotted behind Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner in the rotation.

Beckett was the World Series MVP with
Florida in 2003 and the ALCS MVP with Boston in 2007 — his only 20-win
season. But the 32-year-old right-hander was 7-14 with a 4.65 ERA in a
combined 28 starts last season with the Red Sox and Dodgers after he was
acquired in a blockbuster nine-player trade on Aug. 25.

Pence gave the defending World Series champions a 5-2 cushion in the sixth with a line-drive solo homer to right-center.

Jose Mijares relieved Lincecum in the
sixth and threw 11 pitches without recording an out. He loaded the bases
by hitting Skip Schumaker with a 1-2 pitch that caromed off his
shoulder and over the home plate screen.

Matt Kemp, who was 0 for 2 in
bases-loaded situations and hitless in four at-bats, grounded into a
double play against George Kontos as Mark Ellis scored. Javier Lopez
then came in and struck out Adrian Gonzalez.

Sergio Romo, the sixth Giants pitcher, worked a perfect ninth for his second save.

San Francisco scored four times in the
third to grab a 4-1 lead. Lincecum drove in Gregor Blanco with a
groundout and Brandon Crawford scored when second baseman Schumaker
booted Angel Pagan’s grounder in the hole for an error. Sandoval then
jumped on an eye-level 1-2 fastball one out later and lined it over the
right-field fence, showing no signs of the bone spur or the nerve
irritation in his right elbow that sidelined the burly third baseman for
part of spring training.

Los Angeles got an unearned run in the
first when Crawford led off with a single and scored on a one-out passed
ball by Hector Sanchez.

All-Star catcher and reigning NL MVP
Buster Posey started at first base for San Francisco, with Brandon Belt
missing his second straight game because of stomach flu. His error on a
grounder by Gonzalez in the fifth inning led to a sacrifice fly by Luis
Cruz.

NOTES:
Lincecum also walked seven over 6 1-3 innings in a no-decision against
the Dodgers on Sept. 7. … Sanchez caught 16 of Lincecum’s 33 starts
last year, his first full season in the majors. … The Dodgers haven’t
scored an earned run through the first five innings in any of the first
three games. … Barry Zito will start against St. Louis’ Jake Westbrook
on Friday night in the Giants’ home opener, when they raise their
second world championship banner in three years. … Beckett is 5-5 with
three no-decisions in his first start of a season. … The Giants will
receive their World Series rings on Sunday.