SAN FRANCISCO--Tim Lincecum walked a season-high six batters, allowed five hits and uncorked two wild pitches against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
All this came in just six innings and over the course of 112 pitches. But, hey, the Giants will take it, given Lincecum limited the damage to two runs and the Giants emerged with a 6-2 victory at AT&T Park.
The Giants upped their lead in the National League West to four games over the Colorado Rockies and joined the A's as the only teams with 30 wins this season. The Giants didn't notch their 30th win last season until June 2.
"He battled," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum, who improved to 4-3. "He really worked hard for this one. For him to complete six innings, that was pretty impressive because he was bobbing and weaving out there the whole game."
This wasn't vintage Lincecum from his Cy Young Award-winning days, when he overpowered batters and piled up strikeouts and victories.
No, this was the other vintage Lincecum, the one who throws a lot of pitches, darts in and out of trouble, yet still is standing long after many counted him out.
As he has done so often in recent years, Lincecum persevered through the rough patches and made just enough quality pitches to get out of tight situations.
"I can't remember the last start where I had more balls than strikes going into the sixth inning and I had a win going," Lincecum said. "I can't really recall that. It's kind of an ugly win for me, but I'll take it."
The Twins had Lincecum on the ropes many times, most notably in the fifth when they loaded the bases with two outs.
After a mound visit, Lincecum induced Eduardo Escobar to ground out to first base. Lincecum then breezed through the sixth inning and called it a night.
"We knew he was battling," shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "He had (a lot) of guys on base, but he pitched his way out of it. That says a lot about him and his competitiveness."
OK, so it wasn't a dominant performance. It's still the kind of outing that shows Lincecum's mettle and why he remains a threat to win every time he takes the mound.
The Twins had at least two runners reach base in each of the first five innings off Lincecum. They scored only in the third inning on an RBI triple and a run-scoring groundout.
Entering the third, the Giants led 3-0 on the strength of a Pablo Sandoval three-run home run into the right-field seats in the first inning.
Sandoval now has five home runs, and he is batting .339 in his past 16 games. His resurgence comes at a good time, too, with first baseman Brandon Belt on the disabled list.
"We kept saying this: He's got the ability to get the good part of the bat on the ball, and he's done that consistently now," Bochy said. "And we need him. With Belt going down, you go and you pick it up somewhere. And he's picked it up, which has helped the cause here."
Sandoval said his approach hasn't changed. He is just waiting for a good pitch and pouncing when it arrives.
As for how he feels, now that his average is up to .225 and he is contributing on a regular basis?
"I feel better because we're winning," Sandoval said. "That's the most important thing I feel."
-- Right-hander Matt Cain got in some work before Friday's game in an attempt to gauge the severity of his right hamstring injury.
Bochy said he will decide Saturday or Sunday on how to proceed with Cain, who suffered his injury Wednesday against the Rockies.
"He's bouncing around pretty good," Bochy said, while Cain participated in exercise drills. He also was slated to play catch.
The options are pretty straightforward: Cain recovers in short order and makes his next start Monday; Cain misses one start, with Yusmeiro Petit making another spot start; or Cain misses two starts and goes on the disabled list.
--Jean Machi faced four batters and recorded five outs--he induced an inning-ending double play in the eighth after he inherited runners on first and second with one out. He notched his second save and lowered his ERA to 0.37.
--Bochy said he is going under the assumption that the Giants-Rockies game that got suspended because of rain Thursday will be completed Sept. 1.
The Rockies and Giants play a three-game series in Colorado from Sept. 1-3. Thursday's game in Colorado got called in the bottom of the sixth inning, with the score tied at 2.
"My guess is, we'll play that before we start the first game," Bochy said. "But I can't say that for sure."
-- Right fielder Hunter Pence extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a first-inning single.
--The first of two wild pitches by Lincecum in the fourth inning bounced off catcher Hector Sanchez's right (throwing) hand. After having his hand checked, Sanchez finished the game.
--The Giants improved to 4-0 against American League teams this season. They went 6-14 in interleague play last season, tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the second-worst record. The Giants are 140-138 all time in interleague play.
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