Tim Lincecum picked up a win in his first start of the 2013 campaign. It took a lot of pitches. It wasn’t pretty. And in short, it was pretty gruesome to watch, as the two-time Cy Young award winner worked out of jams repeatedly. But Lincecum overcame a career-high seven walks to pitch five innings, allowing two runs but no earned runs to lead the Giants to a 5-3 win.
The theme–working out of trouble–made its appearance in the first inning. Carl Crawford blooped a single into left field on the third pitch of the game, and I bet Giants fans let out the “here we go again” sigh that was extremely common in 2012.
The sigh would only become worse when Lincecum walked Skip Schumaker to put runners on second and third for Matt Kemp. Kemp crushed a two-seam fastball from Lincecum, but Angel Pagan tracked it down in deep center field. As the messy first inning continued, Adrian Gonzalez walked, but Hector Sanchez failed to block Lincecum’s pitch, resulting in a run.
Luckily for Lincecum, his offense backed him up. Actually, Lincecum played a role in one of the Giants’ five runs.
In the third inning, he slapped a fastball from Josh Beckett back up the middle to tie the game. Pagan reached on an error, and just like that, Pablo Sandoval tomohawked Beckett’s fastball into the seats–on a bounce off the tippy top of the wall.
Lincecum had one smooth-sailing inning–the bottom of the third. He only needed nine pitches to breeze through Adrian Gonzalez, Ethier and Cruz. This was a shot in the arm for Lincecum, whose pitch count increased by increments of 20 each inning–he needed at least 19 pitches inning in every except the third.
Lincecum put himself in yet another disaster in a 22-pitch fifth inning. Buster Posey made an error, which probably would’ve been a double play, but Lincecum also walked two. Despite brewing another mess, Lincecum only yielded a sac fly to Cruz, which wasn’t technically his fault.
Hunter Pence hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to extended the Giants lead.