Braves blanked by Lincecum, Giants

BOX SCORE

By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Baseball Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP)The Freak really showed up for San Francisco on his biggest stage yet.

Tim

Lincecum pitched a two-hitter and struck out 14 in a dominating

postseason debut, and the Giants scored their only run after a

questionable umpiring call to beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in Game 1 of

their NL division series Thursday night.

Lincecum pitched a

gem, a day after Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay threw only the second

no-hitter in postseason history in his debut. Lincecum outdueled

playoff veteran Derek Lowe and caught a break, too.

Cody Ross

singled in the only run Lincecum needed in the fourth after Buster

Posey was called safe on a steal of second by umpire Paul Emmel. Posey

appeared to be tagged out by Brooks Conrad on the play — retiring

Braves manager Bobby Cox, the all-time leader in ejections, did not

argue.

Lincecum struck out Derrek Lee for the third time to

end the 119-pitch masterpiece in 2 hours, 26 minutes. He became just

the 12th pitcher with 14 or more strikeouts in a postseason game.

In

a postseason already filled with plenty of stellar pitching, this was

the first 1-0 game in the postseason since 2005, when the Chicago White

Sox finished off a World Series sweep over Houston.

Game 2 of this best-of-five series is Friday night, with 13-game winner Matt Cain going for the Giants against Tommy Hanson.

Lincecum’s only other complete game this season came in a two-hit shutout of the New York Mets on July 15.

The

two-time NL Cy Young winner carried the momentum from a strong final

month right into October. His strikeouts set a franchise record for a

postseason game — his eighth time with 10 or more Ks this year and

27th of his career.

Lowe, who won his last five regular-season

starts with a 1.17 ERA over that stretch, allowed one run on four hits

in 5 1-3 innings, struck out six and walked four.

Lincecum,

still hitting 91 mph on the radar gun in the ninth, became the first

pitcher to record 12 strikeouts or more in the playoffs since Roger

Clemens had 15 for the New York Yankees against Seattle in the 2000 AL

championship series.

Lowe was done after giving up Posey’s

double and a walk in the sixth. That delighted the orange towel-waving

sellout crowd of 43,936 at AT&T Park, which drew the largest

attendance for a postseason game in the ballpark’s 11-year history.

Ross

delivered in the fourth after Lowe intentionally walked Pablo Sandoval.

Ross is one of a handful of late acquisitions to contribute to the

Giants’ first NL West title and playoff berth since 2003.

Making

his playoff debut at age 26 and in his third full major league season,

Lincecum looked every bit an ace. He was sharp throughout, walking only

one. This is the same pitcher whose career-worst five-start losing

streak began with a defeat Aug. 5 at Atlanta.

Lincecum allowed

a leadoff double to Omar Infante to start the game, then retired the

next nine Braves batters in order before Jason Heyward drew a leadoff

walk in the fourth. The stretch included five straight swinging

strikeouts in the heart of Atlanta’s order.

It was a tough

night for a Braves team playing without injured All-Star infielder

Martin Prado, who sustained a season-ending torn oblique muscle and hip

pointer Sept. 27. That was a big blow considering he batted .307 with

15 home runs and 66 RBIs.

Updated October 7, 2010