It was not a happy homecoming for Tim Lincecum. But before we talk about another non-quality start for the Freak, we’ll start with missed chances on offense and poor decisions on defense. That’s where this game was swung.
The Giants put runners in scoring position is each of the first four innings, but they failed to deliver the big knockout punch on Kevin Millwood.
Still, a couple of clutch two-out hits by Ryan Theriot and Melky Cabrera helped the Giants take a 4-2 lead. But those other missed chances would come back to haunt them.
With the game tied 4-4 in the sixth, Lincecum was pulled after giving up a leadoff single to Jesus Montero. Jeremy Affeldt came in relief and gave up a single to Michael Saunders.
After Justin Smoak flied to center for the first out, Dustin Ackley hit a chopper to the right of second base that Brandon Crawford gloved. Crawford attempted to tag out Saunders heading to second, but wasn’t able to get him. The hesitation cost Crawford time to throw out the hustling Ackley.
So instead of second and third and two outs (or even first and third; Crawford had a better chance of forcing out Saunders at second by throwing back to Ryan Theriot covering), the bases were loaded with one out.
Franklin Gutierrez hit a hard grounder to third that Joaquin Arias had to go to his knees to field. But Arias looked first at second base before throwing to first … too late and the Mariners plated a run with help of two balls that didn’t leave the infield.
Brendan Ryan’s two-run single made it a three-run sixth.
And after tagging Millwood for four runs on nine hits in five innings, the Giants went hitless against the Mariners’ bullpen.
As for Lincecum, it was yet another hot-and-cold outing. After giving up a pair of solo home runs to Casper Wells and Montero in the first inning, Lincecum retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced with John Jaso’s second-inning walk the only batter to reach.
But then Lincecum battled with mechanics out of the stretch after giving up a leadoff single in the fifth. He walked Jaso on four pitches (none close). After falling behind 2-0 to Ryan, Ryan bunted the runners to second and third.
Ichiro Suzuki then hit a chopper up the middle that Lincecum probably thinks that he should have gloved. Instead, it went for an infield single when Theriot was able keep the ball from going into center.
Theriot’s play save a run, but only momentarily. After getting ahead of Wells 1-2, Lincecum tried to strike him out with a low changeup. Instead he bounced well in front of the plate, and the ball kicked off Posey for a wild pitch, scoring Jaso.
Lincecum’s five runs allowed in five-plus innings allowed his ERA to go up again to 6.19. His next start is slated for Friday at Oakland.
Madison Bumgarner pitches for the Giants against Felix Hernandez as the Giants try to win their first series ever at Safeco Field. Game time is 1:10 p.m.