Tag Archives: Sergio Romo

Linceblog: San Francisco Giants’ Lincecum shows old ace magic with 3-hit, 7-inning mastery over Toronto Blue Jays in 2-1 win; Best start this year comes amid bullpen talk, though Lincecum says that was no factor on this night

All the bullpen talk over the last few days must have done something to Tim Lincecum.

But he won’t let anyone think that.

The one-time, unquestioned Giants ace turned in a throwback performance—a solid 7-inning start, his best since Mother’s Day (May 12)–holding  the Toronto Blue Jays to just one run on three hits, walking just one batter, and striking out six.

Lincecum was in control. In 100-pitches, 61 for strikes, he showed everyone why he’s not quite ready to be relegated to the pen.

Later, Lincecum insisted that news reports where he discussed a bullpen move weren’t on his mind on this night, when he was just focused on being a good starter.

That, he was.



It wasn’t exactly an auspicious start.  Lincecum was ahead of Former Giant Melky Cabrera 1-2 but then gave up a single. The defense saved him with a 6-4-3-double play. But then the next batter, Edwin Encarnacion hit a 1-0 fastball into centerfield for his 17th home-run of the year to give Toronto a 1-0 lead.

Lincecum later said that pitch to Encarnacion was a “good pitch,” not a mistake. “You tip your cap to him,” said Lincecum. “And you move on.”  

But with 2-out and clean-up hitter Adam Lind coming up, would it be the beginning of that typical Lincecum pattern this year of the one-big inning, early?

Not on this night.

Lincecum restored confidence striking out Lind on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

And then the Giants, as they have most of this season, came back to pick-up Lincecum.  In the bottom of the second, Andres Torres hit a 1-1 pitch from Toronto’s Josh Johnson on a line over the centerfield wall. Hunter Pence, who had singled, scored ahead of him to make it 2-1.

That’s all they needed, as Lincecum was ready to throw a gem of a game.

In the second, despite a hard hit ball by Toronto’s Colby Rasmus, it was a quick three-batter inning. As was the 3rd.

The 4th.

The 5th.

And the 7th.

The noticeable exception was the 6th. He faced one more batter. The inning started creakily, with Lincecum giving up his lone walk of the game with one-out–to his opposing pitcher Josh Johnson. Pitchers are supposed to be outs, as Lincecum has acknowledged in the past.

Would it be his undoing in a close one-run game?

Cabrera, the former hero and doper,  who had been dodging boos and indifference all night from conflicted fans, then singled to right.

But then it was Lincecum against the dangerous former home-run champion, Jose Bautista.

Bautista hit a liner to Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who quickly relayed to second baseman Marco Scutaro  to get the lead runner Johnson.

Scutaro had the ball for split second, then in a scooping motion with his gloved, dropped the ball.

Did he hold it long enough? Did he even beat Johnson to the bag? Second base umpire Alfonso Marquez said he did, though Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons continued arguing as the inning ended .  Giants Manager Bruce Bochy later said he’d probably be out there arguing too. But he thought Johnson was out.

With solid defense behind Lincecum like that double play, and hard hit fly balls to left run down by Torres, Lincecum shutdown the Blue Jays methodically. He had the fast-ball command early, and got his slider and change-up over for strikes.

The bull-pen came in to hold the game with Affeldt in the 8th, and Romo in the 9th. The closer needed  20 pitches to get the Blue Jays’  heart of the order out.

But even in the final inning, the Jays were a threat, with the tying run on first, and the winning run at the plate in the person of Edwin Encarnacion.

The Blue Jay slugger’s 17th homerun in the first inning was his team’s only run. His soft liner to second base would be its last out.

So the Giants bullpen did its job.

And for a change, so did the Giants starter named Lincecum.

Linceblog:Giants win 4-3, survive late Dodger surge to sweep series as Hunter Pence delivers key hits, Romo saves Cain’s first victory

Hunter Pence had played every inning for the Giants so far this year, and is the only Giant to do so  (that’s 30 games, 271.1 innings coming into the final game of this Dodger series). 

Good thing he didn’t take Sunday off.

Pence  drove in 4 runs, breaking out of a slump where he had just 5 hits in the last 32 ABs (.156)

It’s a hidden stat.  While he’s .328 with no one on base, he’s just .211 with runners on.

But on this night, Pence was hotter than the Mexican army at the Battle of Puebla, as the Giants staved off the Dodgers 4-3.

In the first inning, Pence’s fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, scored a run, but seemed like a mild improvement over his norm.

Then in the 3rd, with two runners on, Pence took advantage of Dodger starter Hyun-Jin Ryu’s control issues.  After  walking Buster Posey on four straight pitches,  Ryu threw three straight balls to Pence before coming into the zone for a strike. Pence promptly punched it down the left field line for a double, scoring  Marco Scutaro for a 2-0 Giant lead.

Then in the bottom of the 5th, after Ryu walked Sandoval  on four pitches, and gave up a hard  Posey single to center, Pence came up and delivered again— a double off the brick wall in right.

Both runners scored, giving a four-run margin and confidence to Matt Cain.

The Giants ace, who entered the game winless in six starts with an 0-2 record and an ERA of 6.49, was in control on this night.

After 6 innings, he was cruising on 91 pitches and 57 strikes. The Dodgers never seriously threatened.

Only in the 8th when Cain left, did the bullpen struggle.  The Giants had the lead, so this wasn’t a comeback situation  like the previous five victories, but it almost became one.

Adrian Gonzalez, pinch-hitting with the bases loaded and two outs, singled through the hole at second and drove in two runs  off Jeremy Affeldt, the third reliever for the Giants in the game.

Affeldt’s quick appearance ended after Dee Gordon’s  infield hit scored a third run in the inning to shave the score to 4-3.

With runners on first and second, Jean Machi came in to get pinch hitter Jerry Hairston to hit a grounder to Brandon Crawford at short, whose throw just barely got the speedy Hairston.

That set up the bottom of the 9th for closer Sergio Romo, and on Cinco De Mayo no less.

Romo, facing the top of the order, got Crawford to fly out to center. Then Nick Punto flied out to left. 

It left a classic showdown for the final out between Romo and the Dodger slugger Matt Kemp.

Romo had the count to 1-2 on Kemp, who then flied out harmlessly to Torres in center.

Could there be a better finale on a Sergio Romo gnome giveaway day? A better way to end a Giant/Dodger series sweep?