AT&T PARK — The Cubs learned a valuable lesson during their series with the Giants: Don’t feed the Panda.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Pablo Sandoval continued his recent hot stretch as he went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI to extend his career-long RBI streak to eight straight games as the Giants beat the Cubs 5-0 Wednesday afternoon.
As the weather in the Bay has warmed up, so has Sandoval. After his batting average languished around the .170 mark for the first month and a half of the season, Sandoval has hit a scorching .429 in his last eight games.
Manager Bruce Bochy knows just how hot Sandoval is:
“He’s a good hitter and when good hitters get in the zone they are fun to watch. … Pablo’s been the guy that’s really come through for us … He’s in such a good zone right now, he’s the guy you want up there with men on base.”
Angel Pagan’s bat stayed hot as well as he went 2-for-3 with a run scored as he extends his own streak, scoring a run in the last five games, while hitting .421 over that streak.
Edwin Jackson (L, 3-5, 4.81 ERA) stymied the Giants’ bats early as he surrendered only four hits while striking out nine through the first five innings.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth that the Giants were able to get to Jackson. After a leadoff double by Pagan, Sandoval singled off of reliever Justin Russell to bring Pagan home for the 1-0 lead. The Giants would add one more in the inning when left fielder Tyler Colvin doubled to left, scoring Hunter Pence.
The Giants added on to their lead the very next inning as an error by third baseman Mike Olt spurred a rally, ending with a Hector Sanchez double and a 3-0 lead.
The Giants got an inefficient yet effective start from Tim Lincecum as he struggled early and often with his command.
According to Bochy, Lincecum started developing a blister early in the game:
“I actually saw him looking at it in the third inning. … But again you throw a lot of pitches sometimes those things come up.”
Bochy however doesn’t think this is going to impact him going forward:
“We stopped him in time, if we let him go it could have developed into something a little bit bigger but we don’t think it’s going to be an issue as far as his next start.”
Lincecum got the hook early after throwing 96 pitches through five innings and didn’t factor into the decision. He finished the game allowing no hits, no runs, four walks, one hit batsman and five strikeouts.
Although Lincecum allowed six runners to reach base, he left the game in the fifth without surrendering a hit. He continued his wild trend with four walks today, and is averaging more than four walks per game over his last four starts.
Bochy said there were no thoughts to leaving him in:
“There was no chance he was going to finish that game, so there was no question he was going to come out at some point. … We might have got one more inning out of him but he worked so hard out there, it was time. When you’re close to 100 pitches after 5 innings that’s a lot of work.”
Lincecum had his troubles early as he threw 52 pitches in the first two innings walking three, but managed to escape unscathed.
George Kontos (W, 1-0, 0.00 ERA) replaced Lincecum in the sixth; pitching one and a third scoreless innings to pick up his first win of the year. Since being recalled May 22, Kontos has yet to surrender a run in his four innings of work.
The combined no-hit bid was broken up in the seventh when catcher John Baker singled off of Jeremy Affeldt.
The Giants head out on the road for a four-game series with the Cardinals Thursday before traveling to Cincinnati to finish their seven-game road trip.
With his wild pitch today, Lincecum is tied with Justin Masterson for second in the majors for most wild pitches this year with seven … The Giants improve to 25-1 on the year when leading after six innings…Jean Machi adds to his scoreless innings streak, it now sits at 20 straight … The Giants haven’t lost a series since May 7 to the Pittsburgh Pirates.