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San Francisco Giants fall to Padres as Tim Lincecum radiates

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Tim Lincecum started and pitched seven shutout innings, Friday night at PetCo Park, but the San Francisco Giants went on to lose 1-0 to the San Diego Padres, one night after defeating the Pads 1-0 on Opening Night. Jeremy Affeldt came on in the eighth, and surrendered the game’s only run when he walked the leadoff batter and surrendered a run-scoring double to Wil Myers.

Tim Lincecum went seven complete innings of shutout ball, allowing four singles and walking three, while striking out five. He had great command of all his specialty pitches, and used his fastball effectively both inside and off the plate. Of his 96 pitches, 60 went for strikes.

Unfortunately, his counterpart Brandon Morrow, kept pace by also going seven, and allowing no runs on four hits…all of them singles. Like Lincecum, he had three walks, but he edged Timmy in K’s with seven. It was a classic pitchers’ duel in every sense of the word. Joaquin Benoit picked up the win by pitching a 1-2-3 eighth inning. Kimbrel got the save. 

After all of his hard work over the winter with his father, Chris, Lincecum  had a very strong spring, with the exception of the game when he had the neck issue.

Longtime Timmy fans have got to be on top of the clouds right now. The Freak is back.

Now to see him come on for his first appearance of the season, and see him throw seven innings of excellent ball, is encouraging. One outing does not a comeback make, but there is strong reason to be just a bit giddy at the thought that Timmy is back for reals.

Jeremy Affeldt came in to work the eighth, and committed the unpardonable crime of walking Clint Barmes to lead off the inning. It came back to bite him in the backside, big-time, when after Will Middlebrooks lined out to Nori Aoki, Wil Myers doubled halfway up the right field wall, and Barmes steamed home from first base.

The relay from Joe Panik was up the third base line, and in an effort to collect the throw, Hector Sanchez got his left (non-throwing) arm snagged by Barmes as he stormed past. After a brief delay, Sanchez was back behind the dish.

Sep 10, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan (16) between pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the seventh inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Panik singled with one out in the ninth, but Craig Kimbrel got the last laugh on Angel Pagan, by inducing a double play ball to end the game. After the emotional confrontation from Thursday night’s game, when Pagan led off the ninth inning with a triple, one could only expect that Kimbrel was feeling as though a challenge were in effect. The Giants will be the ones to determine how much of Kimbrel they will see this season, and how meaningful those appearances will be.

There appeared to be no follow-up heat between Derek Norris and Pagan after last night’s “Gumgate” incident. It was gratifying to hear Greg Papa refer to the incident as Gumgate, in light of the fact that it was Around the Foghorn’s Matt Connolly who coined the phrase right here.

Defense ruled-again-as Brandon Crawford, who was hitless and hit into a double play, made a dazzling snag of a Matt Kemp grounder, and then threw back across his body. The throw was long, accurate and not even close. Every game he does something similar.

September 9, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (35, center) forces out Colorado Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer (3) as Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro (19) looks on during the sixth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Nori Aoki made what might be the finest outfield grab this season when he stole extra bases away from Derek Norris in the fifth. He had to both get a good break and have a perfect route, to be able to get into the vicinity. He then extended himself to the fullest while heading toward left-center, and jumped at the last instant to make a stellar catch. With Pagan and Blanco patrolling the outfield in Hunter Pence’s absence, the Giants are in good shape.

Two ballgames-two 1-0 outcomes, one win to each team. For the second straight night, Matt kemp was kept hitless, which helps to explain why the Padres have scored only one run. Superb pitching from the Giants would be the other reason.

Madison Bumgarner goes tomorrow against James Shields, for what promises to be another classic duel. 1-0, perhaps? No problem, as long as it’s in San Francisco’s favor.

Meanwhile, savor the return of The Freak.

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