Coming off a rough series in Anaheim, the San Francisco Giants needed something to go their way tonight in Oakland. It certainly looked nothing of the part in the games first inning where spotty defense and control issues hampered the Giants, putting them in a three run hole. The Giants did eventually counter with a run of their own, but remained down 3-1 going into the ninth before the game turned on a dime. Consecutive walks to Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval allowed Brandon Belt to slice a double down the left field line, scoring both, but the Giants weren’t done. A Justin Christian single followed by a Hector Sanchez single gave the Giants the lead, after which they added one more to take a 5-3 lead. The A’s added a run in the ninth against closer Santiago Casilla, but couldn’t overcome the deficit.
Lincecum Is Back, Sort Of, Kinda – The first inning couldn’t have went any worse for Tim Lincecum tonight. The Freak was having some of his early control issues and when combined with spotty defense (namely Brandon Belt and Nate Schierholtz), the Athletics were able to create a inning of havoc – costing Lincecum over 40+ pitches. Lincecum never gave in though, when he had every reason to, getting out of the first by striking out the side and eventually making his way to Ryan Vogelsong in the dugout as the inning came to a close. The two exchanged words (in a positive way, advice), Lincecum clearly listening to the grizzled veteran who knows the pain of MLB struggles all too well and from that point on, Lincecum was a different pitcher. Tim never gave up another hit after the first, finishing off his six strong innings by retiring 15 straight (sans a few walks sprinkled in). He wasn’t able to secure a win thanks to the Giants’ poor early offensive showing, but at least for now, it looked like Lincecum righted his path – at least for another five days.
White Shark Attack – Gregor Blanco had been in the middle of a tough slump recently, but the Giants’ center fielder still did his best to contribute even if his stick wasn’t getting the job done. Much like Lincecum though, Blanco emerged from his struggles, at least for a night, as the native Venezuelan stole three bases, knocked in two and found himself on base in three of his four AB’s. All in all, a nice day’s work – for video game numbers.
The ‘Pen Gets It Done – After Lincecum’s rough first inning, the Giants pitching staff locked it down. As mentioned above, Lincecum retired 15 straight before giving it up to the bullpen where five relievers combined on three innings of one run ball (a solo HR off Casilla). The A’s continually had their chances, but while the Giants’ pen bent – it never broke, giving the boys the opportunity to stay in the game and eventually win with their ninth inning rally.