San Francisco Giants, Tim Lincecum drop close one to Marlins


Casey McGehee hit a two-run home run in the first inning and the Miami Marlins, behind strong pitching by Brad Hand, went on to salvage the finale of the three-game series, 3-2, over the San Francisco Giants.  Tim Lincecum had another in a string of quality starts, but ended up coughing up the third and final Marlins run on a wild pitch and it was the difference in the game.

On a day when Bruce Bochy went with a lineup without Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt or Brandon Crawford, there was just not enough fire-power in the lineup to create the necessary amount of heat to produce sufficient runs.  The numbers 6, 7, 8, and 9 positions in the batting order went 0-13, collectively and that’s not going to win very many ballgames.

Pagan is still dealing with an ongoing back issue, and Brandon Belt underwent tests for a concussion Sunday morning, the result of being hit in the face by a thrown ball during pre-game warm-ups, Saturday night.  He was removed from Saturday’s game in the second inning, after complaining of a headache and dizziness.  Crawford was simply not in the lineup because Bochy wanted to give him a rest.

The Marlins collected six hits total with McGehee being the only player with two.  He singled in the eighth inning to go along with his big home run in the first.  For the only game of the series, the Giants kept Giancarlo Stanton in the park, confining him to a double, after which he was nailed trying to advance to third on a scud thrown by Lincecum.

A scud is the term coined by Mike Krukow for a ball that bounces in front of the plate, and Timmy throws a lot of scuds.  In this case Hector Sanchez made a brilliant block of the ball, retrieving it and throwing a strike to Pablo Sandoval at third to get the sliding Stanton in a very close play. 

This was only the third inning and it was already the third base-running blunder by the Marlins, who twice had runners caught trying to advance to third base, when a ball was hit in front of them to the shortstop.  Both Marcell Ozuna and Adeiny Hechavarria tried-unsuccessfully-to get that unattainable ninety feet in the second inning and both were eventually tagged out.  It violates the oldest rule in base-running fundamentals and I thought it might end up costing the Fish the game.

But the Giants’ bats, except for Buster Posey’s double which drove in both of San Francisco’s runs in the third inning, were pretty quiet.  Posey had a single to go with his double, Hunter Pence had two singles, and Michael Morse had a double, but once Pence led off the fifth inning with a single, the Giants would get no more knocks, and only a single base-on-balls, and the Marlins netted an easy win.

It was especially hard for Tim Lincecum to get saddled with a loss, after pitching so sturdily for seven full innings.  Let’s face it, over the past three games, giving up three runs was A-OK.  Not so much today.  Juan Gutierrez and Javier Lopez  pitched the eighth and final inning for the Giants.

Brad Hand pitched very well, going seven innings, giving up the two runs off the bat of Posey, with five hits, one walk and four strikeouts.  Steve Cishek picked up the save for the Marlins by pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

With the Los Angeles Dodgers not playing the St. Louis Cardinals until tonight, the Giants will have to see if they remain on top of the NL West or not.  For the Marlins to have won the final game of the series is to be expected.  Winning two out of three is what San Francisco needs to do, especially while they head to Philadelphia for a four-game set starting Monday night.

The Giants would benefit from taking the series in Philadelphia because when they return to AT&T Park on Friday night, the Dodgers will be waiting for them.  A running start in Philly might help the Giants continue their dominance of the Dodgers so far this season.

Though San Francisco has won seven of ten from the Blue Crew and they need to take two of three this coming weekend, they also need to not overlook the very dangerous Phillies in their own yard.  We need those bats to stay hot and we need a quality start from Ryan Vogelsong.

That better not be too much to ask, or we may have to reevaluate this whole run at the NL West title.  I hope not.