SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum pitched eight sharp innings to win for the first time in four starts, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 4-0 on Tuesday night.
Aaron Rowand hit a two-run double in the second and Edgar Renteria singled in two runs moments later to stake Lincecum to an early lead that held up. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner looked just like the dominant pitcher he was in 2008, striking out eight and walking two.
Lincecum (4-1) threw a season-high 122 pitches and won for the first time since beating the Cubs on May 5 at Chicago. He was coming off three straight no-decisions, but quickly found his groove. He struck out eight or more for the fourth straight start and the seventh time in his last eight outings.
Bob Howry pitched a perfect ninth to finish the five-hit shutout for the Giants, who won back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game winning streak from May 10-12. It was San Francisco's sixth shutout and the fifth time the Braves have been blanked this year.
Starting with pitcher Kris Medlen's strikeout to end the second, Lincecum retired 14 of the next 15 batters and allowed only a one-out walk to Garret Anderson in the fourth before Jeff Francoeur's seventh-inning single.
Medlen (0-2) dug himself a quick hole in his second big league start. After coming in with a 15.00 ERA following a 9-0 loss in his major league debut May 21, Medlen had one costly inning this time. After Lincecum drew a two-out walk in the second to load the bases, Medlen received a mound visit from pitching coach Roger McDowell. Rowand then doubled and Renteria followed with his single.
Medlen allowed four runs on four hits, struck out three and walked two as the Braves lost their second straight to start their seven-game trip out West after a weekend interleague sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays. That still leaves 24th-year Braves manager Bobby Cox five wins shy of 2,000 with Atlanta.
Reigning NL batting champion Chipper Jones returned to the Braves' lineup for his first start since injuring his right big toe Thursday night.
Jones ran before the game to show Cox he was ready, then doubled in his first-inning at-bat. That was the only extra-base hit allowed by Lincecum, who threw 122 or more pitches for the sixth time in his career.
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