Braves 5, Giants 2
Tim Lincecum’s tough day began with back-to-back walks, the
first two of what became a career-high six overall.
The Giants ace doesn’t yet look like himself, the offense is
equally as inconsistent and the World Series champions are still
trying to find themselves during a difficult opening month.
”It’s early, just a half of the first month of the season,”
slugger Pablo Sandoval said. ”We’re fighting, trying to put all
the pieces together.”
Lincecum was outpitched by Tim Hudson, Atlanta leadoff man
Martin Prado drove in his team’s first three runs and the Braves
handed San Francisco its third straight defeat with a 5-2 win
Saturday to secure just their third series victory of the
Hudson (3-2) followed up Tommy Hanson’s strong outing a night
earlier with his own impressive performance in a matchup of two
undersized, hard-throwing righties who share a first name.
Hudson came within one out of a complete game. He allowed nine
hits, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in an efficient,
112-pitch outing. Manager Fredi Gonzalez left Hudson in to start
the ninth but he gave up Pat Burrell’s leadoff double and a
sacrifice fly to Miguel Tejada.
”It’s pretty disappointing. Obviously to go out and get two
outs in the ninth, you want to finish it,” Hudson said. ”My pitch
count got up there and I was laboring a little bit. But I’m not a
guy who takes a lot of pride in complete games.”
Lincecum (2-2) was tagged for five runs and six hits in 6 1-3
innings after he carried a no-hit bid into the eighth inning Monday
at Colorado. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner allowed his most
earned runs since also giving up five last Aug. 15 against San
Diego during a career-worst, five-start losing streak.
Brian McCann added a two-run single in the seventh off Javier
Lopez to end an 0-for-10 drought and further back Hudson. This
outing was reminiscent of the pitcher’s dominant days across San
Francisco Bay as a member of Oakland’s ”Big Three” – with Hudson
still hitting 91 mph on the radar gun even at the end.
”We’ve got to get this offense going and tighten up the defense
a little bit, but it wasn’t a bad effort by Timmy,” San Francisco
skipper Bruce Bochy said. ”We’re just not quite clicking. We hit
some balls hard right at them but we’re not getting the hit when we
need it the last couple of days, or three games. That’s something
you ride through.”
While Hudson’s lone clean innings came in the first and sixth,
he was helped by two double plays. He had only thrown 72 pitches
through six, 23 fewer than Lincecum.
Craig Kimbrel retired pinch-hitter Buster Posey on a flyball to
center for the final out for his sixth save and second in as many
The Giants had their streak of four straight winning series
snapped. Lincecum was handed only his third loss in nine career
starts against Atlanta, the team the Giants eliminated in four
games in the NL division series last fall during their improbable
”You can’t accept pretty good results when you walk six guys,”
Lincecum said. ”It’s almost like a guy’s on every inning.
Obviously you’re not helping yourself or your team with a
back-against-the-wall kind of situation. Today was one of those
situations where I did it to myself.”
Lincecum received a mound visit from pitching coach Dave
Righetti after a one-out single to Nate McLouth and a walk to
Hudson in the third. Prado then singled in Atlanta’s first run to
tie the game. McLouth scored that run and came home again on
Prado’s go-ahead single in the fifth. Prado reached on a fielder’s
choice in the seventh for another RBI.
Lincecum retired cleanup hitter McCann and No. 5 batter Dan
Uggla in each of their first three at-bats without the ball leaving
Cody Ross had his first hit and drove in his first run of the
season after being activated from the disabled list earlier in the
Burrell hit a one-out double in the second and easily beat a
close play at the plate to score on Ross’ ensuing single. After
that inning, Hudson allowed only three more baserunners to reach
Giants Sunday starter Jonathan Sanchez was fighting a flu bug
that required him to receive an IV for dehydration, but Bochy
expected the left-hander to make his start.
”We think he’ll be fine for tomorrow,” Bochy said.
NOTES: Lincecum singled leading off the fifth for his first hit
of the year after an 0-for-10 start. … Posey had most of the day
off after a night game, something Bochy will do on occasion to not
overwork the reigning NL Rookie of the Year. … Neither injured
Giants CF Andres Torres (strained left Achilles’ tendon) nor RHP
reliever Santiago Casilla (inflamed pitching elbow) will make the
team’s upcoming 10-game East Coast road trip. Instead, they will
travel to Arizona to rehabilitate and perhaps get into some
extended spring training games. … San Francisco drew 42,395 fans
for its eighth sellout in as many home games this year.