It was a tough night to be a Giants fan.
In his triumphant return to San Francisco after signing a new deal with the Giants in the offseason, Tim Lincecum’s night was cut short as he had to be helped off the field by two trainers after taking a line-drive off of his left leg, and the Giants fell to the Oakland A’s 4-1.
Lincecum had been looking to bounce back after a rocky two years that saw him go 20-29, giving up 44 home runs and 203 hits in 383.2 innings. He’s been inconsistent in Arizona. In his first three starts, he allowed just two runs in 9.1 innings, but in his last two games, he’s given up 12 runs in ten innings, giving him a 1-0 record and a 6.52 ERA overall.
On Friday night, he seemed like he was taking steps back in the right direction. During this Spring Training, he’d been working on allowing “crappy contact” to hitters, allowing hits but no runs while he worked out of the stretch and perfected pitches. Against the A’s, he allowed just that – giving up three walks and three hard hits – including a monster home run to John Jaso – but limiting the damage to just one run.
“Some of the walks, I just wasn’t being competitive on the batters, but I saw that I had some good pitches, and located it well for the most part. The team made some plays behind me, so that was good. It was good to get out there.”
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Daric Barton hit a line-drive off of Lincecum’s leg. The right-hander immediately fell to the ground while Buster Posey ran out, made a great throw, and got the runner at first to end the inning. Lincecum was forced to leave the game after throwing just 72 pitches – 43 of them strikes.
Oakland blew the game wide open in the top of the sixth, adding three runs on two hits and two walks off of Dan Runzler.
The Giants offense continued to struggle. One night after being shutout for the first time all Spring, the orange and black were held hitless through five and a third innings by Oakland starter Jesse Chavez. San Francisco finally mustered up a hit off of him in the sixth – a one-out double off the bat of Angel Pagan – but were unable to convert it into a run.
They did finally get on the board with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Juan Perez got to first o a fielder’s choice, moved to second on defensive indifference, and came home to sore on a single by Joaquin Arias. Tyler Colvin followed it up with a single of his own, but Hector Sanchez flew out to center to end the game.
Chavez was brilliant for the A’s, allowing just the one hit, one walk, and five strikeouts in his five and a third innings of work.
The good news for the Giants? Lincecum’s x-rays came back negative and he’s listed as day-to-day (for now) with a left leg contusion. He’s not sure if he’ll miss a start or not, but Giants fan can be optimistic.
“We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. It’s that second day that kinda hurts the most, but right now it feels pretty good.”
You can hear the collective sigh from Giants fans everywhere.