Giants 7, Phillies 2
Starts like this used to be common for Tim Lincecum.
Brandon Crawford hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, Lincecum threw seven sharp innings and the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 on Friday night.
Lincecum (4-10) looked more like the pitcher who was a two-time Cy Young Award winner than the one who entered the game with a 5.93 ERA. He allowed two runs and five hits, striking out six. It's just the second time this season he had consecutive quality starts - at least six innings pitched and three runs or less. He got a no-decision in San Francisco's 3-2 extra-inning win over Houston last Saturday when he threw eight scoreless innings.
''Building consistency,'' Lincecum said. ''Two good outings behind me. Now onto the next one and use this as a springboard.''
Lincecum has allowed three runs or less in four of his last six outings.
''He had a different look, more confidence and he had great stuff,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Ryan Howard hit a solo homer for the last-place Phillies, who have lost two in a row after winning four straight. Phillies starter Vance Worley (5-6) gave up six runs and six hits in six innings, striking out nine.
The Giants broke it open with five runs in the sixth.
Ryan Theriot led off with a single, Melky Cabrera singled and Buster Posey walked to load the bases. Pablo Sandoval's sacrifice fly made it 2-1. Nate Schierholtz walked to re-load the bases. Worley stayed in despite having already thrown 105 pitches. Crawford ripped the second pitch he saw out to right for his second career slam to put the Giants up 6-1.
''I was looking for a pitch I could hit in the air and it just went out,'' Crawford said.
Howard drove one out to almost straightaway center to get the Phillies within 6-2 in the bottom half. It was Howard's second homer in 25 at-bats since returning after missing the first 84 games.
Crawford's RBI single off Jeremy Horst in the eighth made it 7-2.
''I haven't been doing well with runners in scoring position so that last hit felt just as good as the grand slam,'' Crawford said.
A balk by Lincecum forced in Shane Victorino to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Victorino and Chase Utley hit consecutive hard singles to start the inning. After the balk, Lincecum worked out of a bases-loaded jam, retiring Placido Polanco on a bouncer to third.
''He had a better fastball tonight,'' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Lincecum. ''He threw 89-93 miles per hour and touched 94. He changed speeds and he was locating.''
The Giants tied it at 1 on Eli Whiteside's two-out RBI double to deep right in the fifth.
Notes: The switch-hitting Crawford was in a 1-for-20 slump against right-handers before taking Worley deep. ... The Phillies are an NL-worst 17-28 at home. ... The Giants are 19-13 in the opener of a series this season, including 10-1 in their last 11. ... Howard is 6-for-28 with four homers off Lincecum. ... The Phillies had their 265th straight sellout, including postseason. ... RHP Matt Cain (10-3, 2.56) faces LHP Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.07) in a matchup of All-Stars on Saturday afternoon. San Francisco gave Cain the contract Hamels is using as a barometer for the deal he's seeking from the Phillies before he reaches free agency after the season.
Rob Maaddi can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/RobMaaddi