Slumping Cards can't solve Giant's Lincecum

BY foxsports • June 30, 2009

Tim Lincecum looked ready for a return trip to Busch Stadium in two weeks for the All-Star game. The St. Louis Cardinals could not touch him.

Lincecum threw a two-hitter for his third complete game of the season, all in his last four starts, in the San Francisco Giants' 10-0 rout Monday night. Travis Ishikawa's three-run homer for a 4-0 lead in the fourth was way more than the right-hander needed .

"The way Timmy's been pitching lately, after the first run I felt pretty comfortable," Ishikawa said.

Lincecum (8-2) is tied with teammate Matt Cain for the league lead in complete games and his 2.37 ERA is second in the NL after mastering the punchless Cardinals with his third career shutout and fifth career complete game. He needed only 95 pitches to match his career low complete game and finished off the Cardinals in a snappy 2 hours, 6 minutes.

He faced only two three-ball counts all night and didn't walk a batter for the second time in three starts.

"Their tendencies against me were they don't get too deep in the count," Lincecum said. "Guys were swinging early and often, so I was just trying to give them pitches they couldn't hit out of the park."

Make that out of the infield. Giants outfielders handled only seven chances.

"He's been on this roll for I don't know how many starts," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Tonight he did say it was one of his best games. I don't think he had a stressful inning."

The Cardinals were not arguing that point.

"He worked us over," manager Tony La Russa said. "Everything looks the same until it gets to the plate."

Brad Thompson (2-4) took the loss for the Cardinals, who have lost five of six while scoring three or fewer runs in all of the setbacks.

Lincecum retired the first 14 in order, the early perfection ending when Rick Ankiel lofted a soft broken-bat single to center with two outs in the fifth, then mowed down five more before Albert Pujols doubled off the left-field wall with one out in the seventh. Then, the last eight Cardinals went quietly.

"I think he smells that," catcher Bengie Molina said. "He's close to the end and he wants to finish the game."

Pujols was the only runner to reach scoring position for the Cardinals, who have totaled two runs in two games since acquiring Mark DeRosa from the Indians.

Edgar Renteria's three-run double capped a five-run seventh as the Giants batted around against rookie Clayton Mortensen, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Memphis earlier in the day and made his major league debut. Only one of the runs was earned because of a throwing error by second baseman Skip Schumaker.

Juan Uribe added his second homer of the season, and third in 30 career at-bats at 4-year-old Busch Stadium, leading off the eighth off Mortensen.

Lincecum's eight strikeouts gave him the major league lead with 132 in 114 innings, and his 2.37 ERA is second in the NL. He's been nearly perfect in four starts against the Cardinals, winning all of them with a 1.61 ERA.

Over his last eight starts, he's 5-1 with a 1.27 ERA. He got an extra day of rest for this start and is 10-2 under that scenario.

Molina's RBI single off Thompson in the first snapped an 0-for-12 slump, and Nate Schierholtz and Renteria singled with one out in the fourth ahead of Ishikawa's fifth homer of the season for a 4-0 cushion. Uribe's homer reached Big Mac Land in the third deck above the left-field wall.

Thompson, who has faltered a bit in his bid to stay in the rotation when Kyle Lohse returns from a forearm strain, allowed four runs in six innings. He tried not to let pitching against Lincecum bother him.

"You still have to go out there and throw your game," Thompson said. "You can't worry about what he's doing. I see him out there, but I'm not worried about his line, what he's up to."

The Giants lead the majors with nine shutouts, including two straight counting a 7-0 win at Milwaukee on Sunday.


Lincecum threw his first career two-hitter Sept. 18, 2008, at Arizona. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy said rookie Ryan Sadowski, who worked six scoreless innings against the Brewers for his first career victory Sunday, earned a spot in the rotation. Sadowski replaced Jonathan Sanchez. ... Mortensen is the eighth Cardinals player to make his major league debut this season, and 14th rookie. ... The Giants have homered in five straight games, totaling eight. ... The Giants haven't committed an error in a season-high nine games.

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