SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Tim Lincecum looked like his old self, pitching a four-hitter and bouncing back from a rough outing with a career-high 15 strikeouts in the San Francisco Giants' 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award (11-3) winner provided the Giants
with a much-needed boost on the heels of a disappointing 3-7 road trip that saw them lose their wild card lead. The hard-throwing right-hander earned his fourth complete game this season and sixth of his career, finishing his 115-pitch gem in 2 hours, 6 minutes.
Lincecum, the All-Star starter for the National League earlier this month, dazzled on a night the Giants paid tribute to late owner Sue Burns, who died July 19 of complications from lung cancer only nine days after being diagnosed.
This marked the sixth time this season and 17th in his career that Lincecum struck out 10 or more. He walked three.
He had two strikeouts in each of the first five innings before giving up a pair of unearned runs in the sixth following a throwing error by shortstop Edgar Renteria. He also got some help from the Giants' defense when left fielder Eugenio Velez - called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Fresno - made a diving catch of Andrew McCutchen's sinking line drive to end the seventh.
Pablo Sandoval had his seventh three-hit game of the year, Bengie Molina doubled in a run and Randy Winn added an RBI single.
Lincecum had to wait a while to finish this one. Pirates reliever John Grabow complained about the mound and the grounds crew came out to work on it for several minutes. But Lincecum walked back out to a roaring standing ovation, a mist hovering just above the field. He struck out his final two in the ninth - fanning Andy LaRoche for the third time to end the game - and retired the last eight batters he faced.
The Pirates took two of three from the Giants last week and had won 10 of the last 14.
Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm (6-5) was tagged for eight hits and four runs in six innings. The left-hander hadn't lost in five starts since June 21 at Colorado, but had three no-decisions during that span. He was charged with all four San Francisco runs and has allowed 11 earned runs over his last 10 2-3 innings.
Pittsburgh All-Star second baseman Freddy Sanchez was a late scratch with a lingering sore knee.
Sanchez, who went 0 for 12 with seven strikeouts during the team's recent four-game series at Arizona and is 3 for 34 over his last eight games, also sat out Friday night's game against the Diamondbacks with the same problem.
Before the game, San Francisco acquired first baseman Ryan Garko
from the Cleveland Indians for Class-A left-hander and talented prospect Scott Barnes. Garko was with the Indians in Anaheim before
being scratched late and he should be in uniform and playing for San Francisco on Tuesday night.