SAN FRANCISCO — On Thursday night, it was “Big Time Timmy Jim” giving Giants fans their money’s worth, making up for not getting a chance to pitch in the All-Star Game.
Tim Lincecum (10-4) tossed a complete game six hitter with five strikeouts as the Giants shutout the Mets, 2-0.
For the reigning two-time National League Cy Young winner, it was the 50th win of his career and fourth shutout in just 109 games pitched.
“It’s good for both the team and myself, a confidence booster,” Lincecum said. “Coming out of the first half the way I did I wanted to keep that going and the next start too but definitely nice to get the win.”
Offensively, Lincecum didn’t get much run support but he didn’t need it either. In the bottom of the second inning, Buster Posey led off the frame with a single to right. He would advance to third base and with two outs, Pablo Sandoval doubled high off the right field wall for an RBI double. Sandoval crushed a 84-mph fastball off knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey on a 2-2 count.
While that run would stand as the game-winning hit, Lincecum got an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. With the bases loaded, Buster Posey grounded into a fielder’s choice to first base and Aaron Rowand hustled down the third base line to beat the throw from Ike Davis to the plate.
Unfortunately for Dickey (6-3), he pitched well enough for a win but not on this night. Dickey pitched seven innings allowing just one run on five hits.
“He probably made one mistake the whole night and that was to Sandoval,” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. “He pitched extremely well, made the pitches when he had to. He did an excellent job, gave us a chance. We stayed in the game as long as he was out there but you have to tip your cap to the other guy, he was pretty good tonight.”
Dickey had great control of his knuckleball issuing one walk while striking out three. He actually lowered his ERA to 2.63.
“If I continue to pitch the way I did and the way that I have all year really, at the end of the day we’re going to win more than we lose,” Dickey said. “You’ve got to believe that. So I think what’s important for me, is to continue to be trustworthy, continue to be consistent with my outings and hopefully the results will point to that.”
Baseball is streaky. Dickey was the first pitcher in Mets history to go 6-0 in his first seven starts with the team. Consider that the Mets have had some great pitchers in their history from Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, and of course Dwight Gooden. None of them ever accomplished that feat.
New York had its chances, especially in the fifth inning. Lincecum walked Jason Bay to start the inning and the Mets had runners at the corners with nobody out. With one out, Dickey tried a safety squeeze but failed when he sacrifice bunted Josh Thole to second. With runners at second and third, Angel Pagan flied out to Nate Schierholtz to end the frame.
“I wanted to take it upon myself to shut them down, throw up zeros anyway I could,” Lincecum said. “I wasn’t trying to go for any ridiculous amount of strikeouts, just make good pitches and be aggressive and obviously, Posey helped with that.”
The Giants have won eight of their last 10 games and moved to within 3.5 games of the National League West division lead.
Friday night, Mets rookie left-hander Jonathan Niese (6-3, 3.61) will make his first career start against the Giants. Barry Zito (7-4, 3.76) gets the ball in search of his eighth win. So far in 2010, the Giants are undefeated in the Orange jerseys, (6-0 on Friday nights). First pitch from AT&T Park is at 7:15 pm.
Notes: The Giants signed Alameda native Dontrelle Willis to a minor-league contract, hoping to get the “D-Train” back on track. The 28-year old left-hander is 2-3 with a 5.62 ERA this season with the Detroit Tigers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Willis is a two-time National League All-Star and was NL Rookie of the Year with the Florida Marlins in 2003 with a 14-6 record and a 3.30 ERA. Willis is expected to report to the Fresno Grizzlies on Monday. … C Buster Posey has a nine game hit streak and is currently batting .514 (18-for-35) with five HR, 15 RBI, and 10 runs scored. … Mets RHP R.A. Dickey is 0-3 with a 3.16 ERA (9 er in 25.2 ip) in his last four starts. … OF Carlos Beltran made his 2010 season debut after missing the first half of the season recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Beltran has a .455 career average (5-for-11) vs. Tim Lincecum.
Giants post-game audio:
Manager Bruce Bochy says they were pleased that Tim Lincecum didn’t pitch in the All-Star Game and he proved the extra rest was helpful.
Catcher Buster Posey says Tim Lincecum controlled his fastball to great effect and threw strikes with his other pitches.
Tim Lincecum says he focused on holding down the Mets after being staked to a 1-0 lead. [[ Refers to catcher Buster Posey ]]
Mets post-game audio:
Manager Jerry Manuel says R.A. Dickey was a tough-luck loser.
Losing pitcher R.A. Dickey says the team will prevail more often than not if he pitches like he did against the Giants.