Lincecum, HRs lead Giants to sweep of Halos
SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum pitched eight scoreless innings and the Giants swept, capping a thrilling weekend series at AT&T Park with a 5-0 win over the Angels on Sunday afternoon.
Lincecum gave up just three hits and a walk, striking out four while moving his ERA to 2.40. The Giants (12-13) began the game with back-to-back homers by Nori Aoki and Joe Panik, on their way to a 10-hit effort, and have now won eight of their last 11.
"He was good, really had a good rhythm, good pace, set the tone," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum. "Really had good command of all his pitches."
Angels ace Jered Weaver finished giving up five runs on 10 hits and a walk in five innings, extending his longest winless streak to start a season to six starts and putting his ERA at 6.29. The Angels (11-14) are now seven games back of the division-rival Astros, who have won 10 in a row.
"We had a bad weekend," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We didn't do a lot of things we need to do at the plate and on the field, and some things got away from us on the mound."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back blasts: Aoki and Panik had combined for zero home runs this season before hitting their back-to-back shots. Aoki hit Weaver's first pitch, an 83 mph fastball, into the right-field seats for his first homer as a Giant. Facing a 1-1 count, Panik launched Weaver's 68 mph curve into the right-center-field seats. No. 3 hitter Angel Pagan drilled a triple high off the wall in right-center, missing a home run by a few feet. Panik had one homer in 73 regular-season games last season with the Giants. Aoki had one home run in 132 games with Kansas City. More >
Nothing doing: Weaver's ongoing struggles overshadowed another rough day for the Angels' offense, which didn't even get a runner to third base until the top of the sixth. That inning, the Angels got the first two batters on for the best part of their lineup, but Mike Trout lined out, Albert Pujols grounded out and Kole Calhoun flied out. The Angels, Major League leaders in runs scored last year, have plated three runs or fewer in 14 of their 25 games so far. More >
Swept away: When Giants reliever Jean Machi retired Angels third baseman David Freese for the final out in the ninth inning, the Giants won their sixth straight home game and completed their second straight series sweep at AT&T Park. They swept the Dodgers in a three-game series April 21-23 in San Francisco. The Giants lost their first five home games this season.
"I think just early in the year it was one of those things," Panik said. "We were in a funk and anytime you're in a funk early on, everybody kind of hits the panic button. But this is the type of ball that we know how to play, playing good defense, making the plays."
Can't finish: Weaver took the ball for the bottom of the fifth with 67 pitches and recorded two quick outs, setting himself up to keep the Angels' deficit at three and potentially pitch into the sixth inning. But the Angels' ace gave us a single to Buster Posey, a ground-rule double to Brandon Belt and a two-run double to Brandon Crawford, extending the Giants' lead to five. More >
"I'm pretty much serving B.P. up there now. I have to work with what I've got." -- Weaver, whose average fastball velocity is about 84 mph, nearly three full ticks from where it was the last two seasons
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The last time the Angels started a game by giving up back-to-back homers was also the only other time it happened to Weaver, on Aug. 29, 2006, in Seattle. The Giants have started a game with back-to-back homers three other times, the last one coming off Hall of Famer Bob Gibson on May 27, 1964. Chuck Hiller and Duke Snider hit them.
Weaver batted eighth, in front of catcher Chris Iannetta, for Sunday's series finale, marking the first time the Angels batted the pitcher anywhere but ninth. Inspired by Tony La Russa, Angels manager Mike Scioscia did it to have more on-base ability ahead of his Nos. 2 and 3 hitters, Trout and Pujols.
The Angels were nonetheless shut out, but Scioscia said pregame that Weaver was "pumped" to bat eighth. "He was walking a little taller, that's for sure."
Angels: Matt Shoemaker gets the start Monday, opposite Felix Hernandez, for the 7:05 p.m. PT series opener against the Mariners at Angel Stadium. Shoemaker pitched on extended rest his last two starts and gave up three runs on six hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings against the A's on Wednesday.
Giants: Left-hander Madison Bumgarner will make his sixth start of the season Monday night at 7:15 p.m. PT against San Diego in the opener of a three-game series at AT&T Park. In his last start, Bumgarner (2-1) allowed one run on five hits with nine strikeouts over eight innings in a 2-1 victory Tuesday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
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