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Giants eager to forget painful night for Lincecum

Liner forces early exit from right-hander; offense held in check by A's

Special to

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's still Spring Training, but any time you can hold an MLB lineup hitless for a handful of innings, you're having a good night.

That was the case for Oakland starter Jesse Chavez on Friday, as he held the Giants without a hit for the first 5 1/3 innings in a 4-1 victory for the A's.

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"Wasn't too bad," Chavez told reporters after his stellar start. "It was a good one to finish the spring off and go into the season and build off of that one."

It was a nice exclamation mark for what's been a superb spring for Chavez, who will take over a spot in the starting rotation after recent injuries to Jarrod Parker (Tommy John surgery) and A.J. Griffin (elbow soreness). Behind a solid array of pitches that included a deceiving changeup, Chavez struck out five and allowed just three baserunners. He walked one, hit a batter and allowed just one hit -- a double by Angel Pagan, the last batter Chavez faced.

In fact, Chavez might have been too efficient for manager Bob Melvin's taste, as he needed just 66 pitches to get through the outing. Melvin planned on getting four pitchers in the game, so he was somewhat relieved to see Pagan break up the no-hitter.

"I don't normally take out guys of potential no-hitters," Melvin said. "At the time, I was almost glad that Pagan got the hit, to tell you the truth. But it was impressive. He was on it all night."

Meanwhile, Giants starter Tim Lincecum had a night he'd like to forget. On his final pitch of the night, Lincecum was drilled on the left leg by a Daric Barton comebacker before being helped off the field by a couple of trainers.

The Giants announced that Lincecum had a left knee contusion and that X-rays didn't reveal a fracture, which is a relief for the Giants, considering the shot he took. 

"Not too worried," Lincecum told reporters after leaving the game. "I knew it hit me in a relatively good spot. It didn't hit me in the front of the kneecap."

Lincecum gave up one earned run in four innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out four.

He retired the first six batters he faced before John Jaso drilled a home run to right field to lead off the third inning. The score stayed at 1-0 until the until the sixth, when Sam Fuld ripped a triple down the right-field line to clear the bases and give Oakland a four-run lead.

Up next: Weather permitting, the Giants will conclude their exhibition season with a Saturday afternoon contest at Oakland in the scheduled finale of the Bay Bridge Series. San Francisco will summon Minor League left-hander Edwin Escobar, who's considered closest to reaching the Major Leagues among any of their pitching prospects, to face the A's. Watch the game at 1:05 p.m. PT on a free offering of MLB.TV.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to

San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum, Angel Pagan