Tim Lincecum‘s last start went fairly well; the first inning was quite a mess, but he got through it, and managed to hold the A’s scoreless for 5.1 innings. In light of the season he’s had to date, this was a nice sign of progress, and the hope was that he’d build on it today. He did.
With a chance to get the Giants into first place in the NL West, Lincecum put together what was undoubtedly his best start of the season. His command was a little shaky, particularly earlier in the game, but he ultimately only walked two hitters. More importantly, he shut the Dodgers down for seven innings, tallying eight strikeouts in the process. It was far and away his best outing of the season — and, in fact, his only scoreless start thus far. He’s now tossed 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings, and it’s clear that he’s starting to turn things around. Now, it’s worth noting that the improvement has come against some pretty terrible lineups. The Athletics’ offense is one of the worst in the majors, and today’s Dodgers lineup was devoid of Matt Kemp and — aside from one plate appearance — Andre Ethier. Half the guys in their lineup had sub-.350 slugging percentages. Nevertheless, Lincecum certainly looked like a pitcher that’s turned things around.
And the Giants lineup, well, they got the job done. Buster Posey reached base a few times, Brandon Crawford collected three hits, Angel Pagan drew a bases-loaded walk….all in all, it was enough. They did blow a few opportunities. After leadoff hits in the first and second innings, they couldn’t score. Pablo Sandoval struck out with the bases loaded in the third. Brandon Crawford led off the sixth inning with a triple, and the hitters behind him failed to knock him in. In total, the Giants had ten hits, three walks, and only three runs to show for it.
But it was enough.
And so the Giants won 3-0. They shut the Dodgers out for the third game in a row — the first time they’ve ever shut the Dodgers out for all three games of a three-game series; and they’re now tied for first place in the NL West. It’s hard to believe, but they’ve caught up to a team that at one point had the best record in baseball and a seemingly insurmountable lead in their division.
First place. An NL-best 43 wins. And Timmy is finally pitching well. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m feeling pretty good about this team right now…