Lincecum's 3-hitter leads Giants past A's 3-0

May 21, 2011 - 10:42 PM
Athletics Giants Baseball

San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum works against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 21, 2011, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tim Lincecum pitched a three-hitter, and the San Francisco Giants beat the cross-bay rival Oakland Athletics 3-0 on Saturday for their fourth straight victory.

The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner allowed Ryan Sweeney's two-out single in the first before retiring 21 straight batters, leading the Giants past the A's for the second day in a row.

Lincecum (4-4) struck out five and walked none for his eighth career complete game, handing Oakland its fourth straight loss.

Buster Posey had two hits and drove in the only run against starter Brett Anderson (2-4), who left after giving up five hits in five innings to the defending World Series champions. Cody Ross added an RBI single and Miguel Tejada had a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

San Francisco's ace was back to his dominant form. After allowing seven runs and walking six in a 7-4 loss at Colorado in his last start, Lincecum labored through a 24-pitch first inning before finding his groove. Sweeney sent a grounder on the ninth pitch just out of reach of diving second baseman Freddy Sanchez, the only Oakland baserunner until Landon Powell's two-out single in the eighth.

Lincecum sparkled with his best performance of the season, shattering bats, baffling hitters and popping catcher Buster Posey's glove with a wicked curve and a fastball that touched 94 mph. He threw a season-high 133 pitches, striking out Daric Barton and Sweeney to end the game.

San Francisco needed every last bit of from its ace, too.

Andres Torres got things started for the Giants with a leadoff walk in the first. Sanchez followed with a double, and Posey's groundout to second was hit slow enough to score Torres and give San Francisco a 1-0 lead.

A night after a trio of solid defensive plays, the Giants were sharp again in the field. Torres made a diving catch in center in the fourth to rob Barton of extra bases, moving to his left on a ball slicing away from him in a strong gust.

Even the smallest of plays would prove big with runs so scarce.

Aubrey Huff tried to score from first on Mike Fontenot's double in the sixth, getting thrown out at the plate on second baseman Mark Ellis' relay throw from short right field.

They finally gave Lincecum some extra cushion in the eighth, when Ross had an RBI single off reliever Brad Ziegler. Two batters later, Tejada added a sacrifice fly to center field off Jerry Blevins to score Ross.

Lincecum also allowed a single to pinch-hitter David DeJesus leading off the ninth. He has never thrown a no-hitter, but twice took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning this season.

Notes: Oakland 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff has a right groin strain, and is day to day. ... Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval fielded ground balls and did some light tossing, the latest progression in his return from right wrist surgery. He will hit off a tee sometime in the next few days and is still on schedule to return in about two or three weeks. ... Oakland's two-time All-Star closer Andrew Bailey (strained right forearm) had a light throwing session before the game and will make his first rehab assignment in Triple-A Sacramento either Monday or Tuesday, Geren said. Bailey is scheduled to throw one inning.