Led by a strong outing from Tim Lincecum, the Giants managed to avoid a sweep at AT&T Park; Lincecum lasted 7.2 innings, striking out five with one walk, and just one run allowed — the run coming on an RBI single from Chase Utley. It was just the second start since June 1 in which Lincecum has allowed one or fewer walks.
The run-scoring struggles continued, as the Giants scored only three runs, but it was — overall — one of the better offensive performances from this team of late. They loaded the bases in the fourth and fifth innings, but ultimately squandered their opportunities for big innings (scoring one run in the fourth, and one in the fifth). Jeff Keppinger collected four hits batting in the two-hole, actually the fourth 4+ hit game of his career, and Pablo Sandoval and Chris Stewart collected multiple hits as well. Aubrey Huff, too, managed to reach base a few times on a single and two walks — his fifth multi-walk game of the season (he had 18 last season).
Carlos Beltran was taken out of the game early, causing some concern, but it’s just a sprained right wrist — X-rays were negative — and he’s considered day-to-day. Lincecum was hit by a bat in the game, and Huff was grabbing his hamstring after a stolen base, but per Andrew Baggarly, both are okay.
In any event, the offense is still struggling, and it’s somewhat frightening that they’ve resorted to excessive bunting in order to put runs across.
After facing elite starting pitching in Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt this series, the Giants will have the benefit of facing the much-less threatening Pittsburgh Pirates rotation. Hopefully, that’ll get them jump-started.
On one last note, I figured I’d post Tim Lincecum’s velocity chart from this game (via Brooks Baseball), because it’s awesome: