AT&T PARK — Overall this season — unlike 2012 — the Giants have struggled.
So much so that scoring four in the first inning must have felt like winning a big hand at the poker table.
For one night, everything seemed to go the Giants’ way as Tim Lincecum outdueled one-time Giants prospect Francisco Liriano in San Francisco’s 6-3 win over the NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates.
Buster Posey had three hits and scored a run to help snuff the Giants’ three-game losing streak.
Lincecum wasn’t at his sharpest as he issued four walks in 5-1/3 innings,giving up three hits and three runs while striking out eight.
But he did get the win.
Bruce Bochy had to be relieved to see his offense put up a big lead in the first inning:
Giants manager Bruce Bochy
Video: CSN Bay Area
“It was great to see us put up some early runs. … We haven’t done that in a while, especially here at home. … Timmy did a great job I though. He had that little hiccup there. He got out of sync there in the fourth but what was impressive was how he kept his poise and found a way to pitch out of that.”
The Giants batted around in the first. Marco Scutaro singled to center before Joaquin Arias doubled just inside the right field line. Buster Posey’s broken bat single into left made it 1-0.
With one out, a Brett Pill check swing went for an infield single to third bringing home Arias and advancing Posey to third. A grounder to second by Pablo Sandoval increased the Giants’ lead to 3-0.
Gregor Blanco singled to left, scoring the fourth run of the frame to give the home team a rare sizeable lead for Lincecum (W, 7-13, 4.55 ERA).
When he was removed in the sixth inning, Lincecum got a standing ovation. Bochy was asked why he’s still such a fan favorite:
“You like your players when you’re going good and when they have their moments, it is impressive how these fans have stayed behind these players and us as a club and believe me we appreciate it because it’s been a rough year… But Timmy certainly has earned that with all that he’s done here.”
Lincecum is a free agent after the season. It’s not inconceivable he may soon be wearing a different uniform.
The Giants added their fifth and final run on an RBI single by Pablo Sandoval in the sixth.
Had the outcome gone differently it would have just been a painful reminder that Liriano (L, 14-6, 2.74 ERA) was once part of a trade to Minnesota that included Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser in exchange for catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Pierzynski was a total bust for the Giants, who at the time were desperate for a backstop in the years preceding Posey. Nathan became one of the best closers in baseball and Liriano had two solid seasons pitching for the Twins.
This year Liriano is a strong candidate for comeback player of the year, though he didn’t pitch like it Saturday night. He lasted just four innings, giving up nine hits and four runs.
The Pirates threatened in the top of the seventh after Neil Walker reached on an error by Scutaro. But Sandy Rosario got Andrew McCutchen to fly out before Javier Lopez struck out Pedro Alvarez to end the inning.
Sergio Romo closed it out for his 31st save. And Giants fans can relish that the Dodgers also lost, making the day about as enjoyable as can be given the circumstances.
Romo has converted 15 of his last 16 save opportunities. … Sandoval is batting .395 (15-for-38) with nine RBI in his last 11 games. …The Giants have won 13 of their last 16 games in which they scored four or more runs and are 44-14 (.759) overall in such games this season.