Lincecum, Giants beat Mets 3-1

Tim Lincecum made sure he won’t have to be asked about being an

All-Star with a losing record.

Lincecum labored through six innings to win for the second time

in his past eight starts and Pablo Sandoval had two hits to extend

his hitting streak to 20 games as the San Francisco Giants beat the

New York Mets 3-1 Saturday night.

The win sends Lincecum (7-7) to the All-Star game with a .500

record instead of as the first starter with a losing mark since Gil

Meche in 2007.

“Yeah but they’re still going to ask me why I’m a 7-7 All-Star,”

Lincecum said. “Regardless they’re going to be questions about

that.”

Lincecum was selected to the NL team by manager Bruce Bochy in a

move that appeared to be as much a reward for what he had done in

the past as it was for how he pitched in the first half this

season.

The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner was 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA in

his past eight starts, but managed to limit the Mets to one run in

six innings.

Lincecum retired the first two batters every inning, but failed

to set the Mets down in order even once. He avoided damage after

allowing one run in the first inning, but the extra work drove up

his pitch count and he was pulled after six innings with 114

pitches. He allowed four hits and four walks, with six

strikeouts.

“Just getting through those innings was a battle for me,”

Lincecum said. “Just getting out of them was good enough for

me.”

Nate Schierholtz and Aubrey Huff drove in runs in the first

inning off Chris Capuano (8-8) to help assure that the World Series

champion Giants would go into the All-Star break in sole possession

of first place in the NL West for the first time since 2003. San

Francisco has a two-game lead over Arizona with one game left

before the break.

“It’s encouraging,” Bochy said. “We still have one game before

the break, but it’s nice to try to wrap things up on a good

note.

Santiago Casilla pitched a perfect seventh, Javier Lopez got

five outs and Sergio Romo struck out Scott Hairston with a man on

first for his first save since 2009.

Hairston hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning against

All-Star Brian Wilson the previous night. That was his 12th

longball all time against the Giants, his most against any team.

With Wilson unavailable after pitching the past three days, Romo

fanned Hairston on three straight sliders.

“When they say it takes a different animal to be a closer

they’re right,” Romo said. “The adrenaline you get out there is an

incredible rush. I haven’t had too many opportunities in my career

to be in that position. For me the feeling afterward is borderline

heart attack.”

The Mets lost for just the second time in seven games and failed

in their second attempt to move a season-high four games over

.500

New York’s only run came when Carlos Beltran and Daniel Murphy

hit consecutive doubles with two outs in the first. That snapped a

streak of 16 straight scoreless innings for the Mets against

Lincecum.

But San Francisco answered with two in the bottom half for the

only first-inning runs Capuano has allowed in 17 starts this

season. Capuano had been the only pitcher in the majors with at

least five starts who had not allowed a first-inning run.

But after giving up a double to Sandoval and a walk to Pat

Burrell to load the bases with one out, Capuano was unable to

escape. Schierholtz hit a ball up the middle to shortstop Ruben

Tejada, who tried to tag Burrell to start an inning-ending double

play.

But Tejada missed the tag and his throw to first was late,

allowing Miguel Tejada to score on the infield hit. San Francisco

added a second run on Huff’s groundout 2-1.

“They weren’t exactly tailor made,” Capuano said. “They were a

little bit in between. They were tough turns.”

That was all the Giants could muster in six innings off Capuano,

who allowed two runs, four hits and four walks to end a three-start

winning streak.

“Capuano made good enough pitches to get out of the jam,”

manager Terry Collins said. “I thought he threw the ball good. They

should not have scored.”

Sandoval added an RBI groundout in the seventh off Bobby Parnell

to make it 3-1.

NOTES: San Francisco LHP Jonathan Sanchez (left biceps

tendinitis) threw a bullpen session before the game and will likely

face hitters on the day off in San Diego next Wednesday before

making a rehab start. … Mets 3B David Wright (back) could start

playing rehab games next week and would likely need 30 to 40 ABs in

the minors before being ready to be activated.