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Lincecum, bats deliver as Giants top Dodgers


Lincecum, bats deliver as Giants top Dodgers
SAN FRANCISCO The Giants had Tim Lincecum on the mound Wednesday night. So they didn't need a miracle to beat the Dodgers , clinch a series victory and finish April with a .500 record.

They got one anyway. What else do you call it when Bengie Molina hits a triple?

With the crowd shrieking, the Giants' clutch catcher chugged around the bases as center fielder Juan Pierre misplayed his drive off the wall in the first inning. The improbable hit gave Lincecum a two-run lead and the Giants kept adding to it in a 9-4 victory at AT&T Park.

Lincecum (2-1) had many important assignments last September with the NL Cy Young award hanging in the balance. The hardware was the only rabbit to chase on a losing team. Starting with Lincecum's major league debut on May 6, 2007, the Giants have played 315 games. They've had a winning record after just 12 of them.

But handed the ball in a significant team game, Lincecum didn't let the Giants down. He held Manny Ramirez and his merry mates in check, taking a shutout into the eighth inning while striking out eight.

"Tim's a gamer," closer Brian Wilson said. "Whether our backs are against the wall, whether we need a team win, whether it's a Cy Young on the line, he rises to the pressure. That's what makes great players. And Tim is a great player in the making."

Orlando Hudson doubled to spoil the shutout and Jeremy Affeldt allowed two inherited runners to score. Signifying the stakes, Giants manager Bruce Bochy brought Wilson into a four-run game. He escaped with the help of third baseman Juan Uribe, who reached over the dugout rail to catch a pop fly.

The Giants finished April at 10-10, a gold star considering they were 2-7 after getting skunked on a six-game road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles. They also handed their first-place archrivals only their second series loss.

And the Lincecum legend continued to grow.

"You go into a season with a Cy Young, but I'm trying to completely erase that from my mind," Lincecum said. "I'm not trying to shut down L.A. I'm just trying to be myself."

That's usually enough, especially when the Giants collect a season-high 15 hits. Molina, who has five career triples, added a solo home run in the seventh inning and an RBI single in the eighth. Edgar Renteria had a four-hit night as the Giants sustained the pressure.

"You can tell the fans are really feeling the game," Lincecum said. "You hear the roar. You can tell they want it, and we want it."

The matchup of Lincecum and Eric Stults, the Dodgers' No. 5 starter, inspired some creativity from Dodgers manager Joe Torre. He batted Stults eighth and Pierre ninth in an effort to group his speed.

It's a strategy Bochy said he's thought of employing, too. Before the game, Bochy said he might try batting Emmanuel Burriss or Eugenio Velez ninth behind Matt Cain or Lincecum his two pitchers most adept at handling the bat.

The first inning featured Lincecum's first-ever showcase matchup with Ramirez. But the Giants defense stole the spotlight. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval and first baseman Rich Aurilia each snagged hard shots. Ramirez drilled a 95 mph fastball to right field, but Nate Schierholtz made a shoestring catch.

The Giants hadn't retired Ramirez since he flied out in the fourth inning Monday. He had reached safely in his previous seven plate appearances (two walks, two singles, three doubles).

Lincecum was back on the bench after just five pitches, and the Dodgers didn't get many more good swings against him. Ramirez was 1-for-3 against Lincecum with a sharp single to right field and a walk.

Sandoval strained his groin while running out a grounder in the second inning, but Bochy said the switch hitter likely would be ready when the Giants reassemble to play the Colorado Rockies on Friday.

Contact Andrew Baggarly at abaggarly@mercurynews.com Giants 9, Dodgers 4next game: Friday, vs. Rockies, 7:15 p.m.inside No rest for struggling outfielder Fred Lewis. Page 3


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 30, 2009

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