Lincecum’s Early Exit, Royals Complete Sweep 7-4

Tim Lincecum (9-7, 4.22 ERA) struggled mightily in Sunday’s start and the Giants’ offense was outmatched, completing the sweep for the Royals 7-4.

With a day game following a night game, Bruce Bochy trotted out several recent call-ups with an infield roster containing Matt Duffy, Joe Panik, Adam Duvall, and Andrew Susac. However, the combination of Fresno Grizzlies and Flying Squirrels wasn’t the main cause of the Giants loss. Lincecum ran into trouble right away in the first inning, giving up a single to Nori Aoki, a walk to Salvador Perez, and a line drive RBI to Billy Butler to give the Royals an early lead of 1-0. The Royals continued to add on when Alex Gordon hit a 3-run homer, putting them up 4-0.

The Giants answered back in the second when Pablo Sandoval led off with a single to right field. Matt Duffy continued to move the line when he was hit by a pitch to advance Sandoval to second base. Susac was able to drive in the first run for the Giants with a single to Aoki in right field, driving in Sandoval for a score of 4-1, Royals.

Lincecum’s troubles continued in the bottom of the second when he gave up a hit to Jarrod Dyson, followed by issuing a walk to Aoki. With two men on and no outs, Lincecum pulled out his signature Houdini act by striking out Omar Infante and coaxing ground ball outs from Perez and Butler to end the inning.

The Royals offense continued to ravage Lincecum in the fourth with another lead-off hit off the bat of Alcides Escobar. Dyson then laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Escobar over to second. Aoki, who has been hot against the Giants, singled to Hunter Pence, scoring Escobar and tacking on a run for Kansas City, 5-1. Lincecum’s day was cut-short during the fourth when he was replaced by right-hander Juan Gutierrez. Following the pitching change, Gutierrez immediately gave up a 2-run home run to Perez, extending the Royals lead to 7-1.

The Giants, who hadn’t been able to do much against southpaw Danny Duffy (6-10, 2.39 ERA), were able to make another scratch against him in the seventh. Duvall and Panik drew walks, followed by Susac’s second hit of the game – a double which cashed in two RBIs for the Giants, 7-3. Susac’s single knocked Danny Duffy out of the game and was replaced by Jason Frasor. Frasor gave up a hit to Angel Pagan, who ended up on first base and advancing Susac to third. Hunter Pence then laced a line drive up the middle, driving in Susac and reducing the Giants’ deficit to 7-4.

The Giants had a glimmer of hope against Royals’ closer, Greg Holland (33 saves, 1.81 ERA) when Gregor Blanco and Pagan had back-to-back singles with one out in the ninth.  Unfortunately the big bats were not able to make a dent to extend the game with Pence striking out, Buster Posey drawing a walk, Sandoval lining out to center field to end the game.

The Dodgers won today, widening the gap in the NL West to 4.5 games with the Giants loss in Kansas City. The Giants will enjoy an off day tomorrow and Ryan Vogelsong (7-8, 3.77 ERA) will look to put them back on track on Tuesday facing off against the Chris Sale (10-2, 2.14) and the Chicago White Sox.

First pitch at 7:15.