Behind Lincecum, Giants end Dodgers' win streak
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants received six solid innings from Tim Lincecum and scratched together enough offense to emerge with a 6-2 victory Tuesday night over the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers, halting the National League West leaders' seven-game winning streak.
Lincecum yielded one run and five hits in six innings while outclassing Los Angeles starter Brett Anderson, who surrendered four of the Giants' runs and nine hits in four innings.
Most players downplayed the significance of the season's initial meeting between the longtime antagonists. But, Lincecum said, "obviously, the rivalry's always going to be in the back of your mind."
Justin Maxwell, a right-handed batter in the lineup specifically to face the left-handed Anderson, opened the scoring by coming home on Brandon Crawford's bunt single after drilling a two-out, second-inning triple. Maxwell also closed the scoring with a two-run homer in the eighth inning. In between, Buster Posey lined a third-inning RBI single. And Nori Aoki's fourth-inning tapper between the mound and first base generated two runs, one coming home on first baseman Adrian Gonzalez's throwing error.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Key K: Lincecum's no longer a high-volume strikeout pitcher, but he can record one when it counts, such as when he fanned Jimmy Rollins on a 3-2 changeup to end the fifth inning. Had Rollins reached base safely, Lincecum would have confronted the potential tying run in the form of the dangerous Yasiel Puig.
Infield action: Three of the four runs allowed by Anderson came on hits that didn't even leave the infield. Besides Crawford's bunt, Aoki's fourth-inning chopper caused the most trouble for the Dodgers. Gonzalez fielded the ball and tossed it past Anderson, who was trying to cover the bag, as Maxwell and Crawford came around to score. Anderson, who dived to save the ball from falling into the photographer's pit on the play, retired one more batter before his evening came to an end.
"It's one of those things -- it was just a perfect Bermuda Triangle swinging bunt," Anderson said. "The only play would probably be to catch it and tag him, and that's just a crapshoot." More >
Crawford's capable: San Francisco's leading home-run hitter with three, Crawford reminded observers that he can play small ball with his second-inning bunt single. Remember, Crawford's bunt moved the World Series-clinching run into scoring position in 2012.
Gonzo goes down: The Dodgers didn't have many scoring opportunities Tuesday night. One of the best chances that slipped through their grasp came with two outs in the eighth inning, when Gonzalez came up with runners on second and third. Gonzalez, who entered the game leading the Majors in batting average, couldn't come through in the clutch, as he grounded out to end the inning.
"Led me a little too much. I'm not a wide receiver in the NFL. He probably thought too much of my athletic ability." -- Anderson on Gonzalez's errant throw during Aoki's two-run single
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Lincecum became the first Giants starter to coax an opponent to hit into four double plays since Livan Hernandez did so against Colorado on Sept. 4, 2002. The best of the bunch occurred in the sixth inning, when Crawford dove to snare Howie Kendrick's grounder up the middle and flipped the ball from his glove to second baseman Joe Panik to start the double play, which was confirmed after a replay review. More >
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly lost a replay challenge on a close play at first base in the top of the sixth inning. Kendrick nearly beat out an inning-ending double play, but the relay from Crawford to Panik to Posey at first base got there just in time. Mattingly thought Kendrick beat the throw, but replay officials in New York confirmed the out call on the field. Kendrick and Puig were retired with the twin killing, in what ended up being the final sequence of Lincecum's night.
Dodgers: After a couple of subpar outings to begin his season, ace Clayton Kershaw picked up his first win the last time out with 12 strikeouts over six innings in a win against Colorado. Now Kershaw is set to duel Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner on Wednesday for the fourth time in their careers. In four starts against San Francisco last season, Kershaw went 3-0 with 1.69 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 32 innings.
Giants: What might get obscured in the glare of the Kershaw-Bumgarner matchup is that Bumgarner has thrived against the Dodgers. He owns an 11-5 record in 17 career games, including 16 starts, against San Francisco's archrivals. That includes a 4-2 mark with a 3.22 ERA in six outings at AT&T Park.
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