Baseball / Sports

The San Francisco Giants' Buster Posey puts the ball in play against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group/MCT)

Lincecum stays hot as Giants blank Cardinals

SAN FRANCISCO -- There was no celebration on the mound, not an overflowing Powerade bucket in sight. The San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum wasn't headed for a podium after Tuesday's 5-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals and his highlight reel won't be the top story on "SportsCenter."

But other than that, it was hard to tell much of Lincecum's start apart from his no-hitter last week.

The right-hander once again carried a fantastic rhythm through the night, throwing eight shutout innings and giving up just four hits. Just like in the no-hitter, he threw 113 pitches, 73 of which were strikes. Lincecum has thrown 17 consecutive scoreless innings and has consecutive starts without allowing a run for the first time since May of 2011.

He wasn't the only one bringing good vibes to a sold out AT&T Park. The lineup finally busted out after a brutal week. The Giants scored only six runs during a four-game sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds, but got halfway to that total in the fourth inning against rookie left-hander Marco Gonzales.

Hunter Pence kicked things off with a single and raced home on Buster Posey's double just inside the left-field line. Pablo Sandoval followed with a towering homer to left field, the 10th of his season, 100th of his career. The Giants wouldn't score again in the inning, but there would be more positive signs for a slumping lineup. Michael Morse showed off his early-season swing with a hard double into right-center field and Lincecum wore Gonzales down with an 11-pitch at-bat that ended in a groundout.

After a quick top of the fifth from Lincecum, the lineup got right back to work. Juan Perez hit a leadoff single and scored on Pence's double to the gap in left-center. Pence would come around later in the inning on a groundout by Hector Sanchez that gave the Giants a fifth run for the first time since June 21.

Lincecum received plenty of help from his defense while getting through the sixth on just seven pitches. Sandoval sprawled headfirst to snag a Yadier Molina grounder and sprung to his feet to gun down the jogging catcher. Pence went deep into triples alley to catch up to Allen Craig's deep fly ball.

The seventh inning was even shorter. Thanks to Brandon Crawford's strong play up the middle on a two-out grounder, Lincecum got back to the dugout in just six pitches.

Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo warmed up in the eighth, but Lincecum got out of the inning. He received a standing ovation as he walked off.

-- First baseman Brandon Belt (broken left thumb) is red hot at the plate in a minor league rehab assignment, but the Giants will remain cautious. Belt played first base for the Fresno Grizzlies on Tuesday night and is scheduled for at least one more game with the Triple-A club. Manager Bruce Bochy said it is possible Belt will take Thursday off and then be activated before Friday's series opener in San Diego.

Belt's rehab has mostly been smooth sailing, but Bochy said his thumb was a little sore Tuesday morning.

"He's not quite ready," Bochy said.

(c)2014 San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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