Tim Lincecum struggled right out of the gate as the Giants dropped game three to the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 on Wednesday.
Brandon Belt opened up the scoring for San Francisco and had all three RBIs for the black and orange. With two outs in the top of the first, he put the Giants on the board with a solo shot to right-center field. The first baseman has now hit a home run in every ballpark he’s played in this season, with only one of his nine homers coming at AT&T Park.
The shut-down inning continued to be a problem for San Francisco pitching as Lincecum walked the lead-off man Travis Snider on four straight balls to open the bottom of the first. Snider moved to second on a groundout by Neil Walker, and Andrew McCutchen singled him home. Two batters later, Tuesday’s hero Starling Marte doubled, scoring McCutchen and giving the Pirates a 2-1 lead.
Pittsburgh extended their lead in the bottom of the second as Lincecum gave up two more runs on back-to-back-to-back singles by Chris Stewart, pitcher Gerritt Cole, and Snider.
Overall, Lincecum (2-2) took a step backwards on Wednesday afternoon. Coming off a quality start in Atlanta on Friday, the right hander was lacking in control against the Pirates, keeping the ball up. Five of his eight hits came on 0-2 counts. He walked two, allowed four runs, struck out four, and raised his ERA to 5.55 (from 5.12).
On the other side of the rubber, Cole (3-2) was outstanding for Pittsburgh, tossing eight innings of three-run ball. His only mistakes seemingly came against Belt – first on the home run and then on an RBI double in the top of the fifth, which scored Pablo Sandoval (pinch-hit single) and Hunter Pence (walk). Cole gave up seven hits and only one walk while striking out seven on 107 pitches.
Mark Melancon pitched a perfect one-two-three ninth inning to earn his second save of the season.
San Francisco is now 4-2 on this ten-game road trip and head West to face the Los Angeles Dodgers for a four-game set beginning on Thursday night where it’ll be Ryan Vogelsong (1-1, 4.60) taking on Josh Beckett (0-1, 3.14). With LA playing during the day on Wednesday in Washington, the Giants are currently two games up their division rivals.
Notes: In his 2014 debut, George Kontos threw two shut-out innings on 24 pitches – 18 strikes – allowing three hits and striking out one.