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Giants use long ball to back Lincecum in win over Braves

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- With all the ups and downs in recent seasons, including his demotion to the bullpen for the playoffs, Tim Lincecum can appreciate the strong starts when most everything goes right -- reminding himself, from his own experiences, how quickly things change.

Backed by solo home runs from Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro, Lincecum looked in his best form so far in 2013 as the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 5-1 on Sunday to wrap up an impressive homestand.

Lincecum (3-2) struck out seven in seven scoreless innings to end a three-start winless stretch in which he went 0-2. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner also stopped a four-start skid against Atlanta, beating the Braves for the first time since April 11, 2010.

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"I'll take it," Lincecum said. "But I'm not jumping up in the air right now. ... I'm happy about it, but it's still a work in progress. I'm still working to get better."

Belt hit a solo homer in the second, Sandoval connected in the third and Scutaro went deep leading off the fifth. Gregor Blanco had an RBI double.

Brandon Crawford added an RBI single in the fourth for the Giants, who concluded a 7-3 homestand. San Francisco won a home series against the NL East for the first time since April last year.

Sandoval's two-out drive in the third cleared the elevated right-field arcade and found the water in McCovey Cove, setting off a kayaking commotion in a frenzy to retrieve the souvenir ball.

"Any time Pablo's got a smile on his face it's hard for the whole team not to jump on that energy and feed off it," Lincecum said.

It was the 63rd splash homer by the Giants -- home run king Barry Bonds has 35 -- seventh by Kung Fu Panda and second for San Francisco this year. There have been 89 in the 14-season history of AT&T Park, including one by the Braves' Brian McCann on Friday night.

"My wife asked me to hit a home run into the water for her for Mother's Day," Braves starter Kris Medlen joked. "I must have misunderstood her, and gave up a home run that went into the water."

In just his third quality start in eight outings, Lincecum allowed a season-low two hits after being tagged for 19 over his previous two appearances. Giants closer Sergio Romo, San Francisco's fourth reliever, allowed an RBI double to pinch-hitter Evan Gattis for Atlanta's lone run.

Lincecum said he chatted with the other starters after his last outing about getting back on track collectively as a rotation.

"It's just kind of one of those things, we kick each other in the (rear end),"' he said after a 111-pitch performance. "It's just, here we go, this is the start of something hopefully good."

The NL West-leading Giants make a quick, two-game stop starting Tuesday in Toronto, where former San Francisco outfielder Melky Cabrera will receive his World Series ring for contributions last season before his 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test.

San Francisco then heads to Coors Field in Denver for four games against the Rockies.

"It's not going to be easy travel for these guys," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We get into Colorado late, but that's part of the schedule."

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez rejoined his team after two days away to attend his daughter Gigi's college graduation in Georgia. But Atlanta lost its third straight since taking the opener Thursday night -- outscored 23-4 over the final three games.

"We haven't been real fun to watch right now," Gonzalez said. "What did we score, four runs the past couple games? They have a good club and anytime we made a mistake they took advantage. We didn't get much of anything going until the end when we scored a run."

The Braves continue their 10-game trip at Arizona, where left fielder Justin Upton will face his former Diamondbacks teammates.

Medlen (1-5) lost his fourth straight decision and saw his winless stretch reach six outings since his lone victory his first time out this year, April 4 against the Phillies.

The right-hander allowed five runs, three earned, walked a season-high five and struck out one in 5 1/3 innings.

Umpires went to a replay review after Scutaro's fly ball in the sixth was interfered with by a fan, preventing a possible catch by Upton. It was ruled a double, giving Scutaro six straight multihit games during his 12-game hitting streak.

Notes

  • Lincecum went seven or more innings allowing two or fewer hits for the first time since Aug. 13, 2011, at the Marlins. "It looked nasty from my perspective," Belt said.
  • Bochy on all the pink bats, sleeves, cleats and wristbands for breast cancer awareness on Mother's Day: "It's a great day for all of us to have a chance to honor our mothers, and really for me to reflect back and realize how blessed I was to have such a great mother, not just in raising me but she was a big part of my baseball life, with my father being in the service," he said. His mother, Melrose, died in March 2007.
  • Bochy hadn't decided on his designated hitter for the two games against the Blue Jays.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Brandon Belt slides past Brian McCann on Brandon Crawford's RBI single in the fourth. (USATSI)
Brandon Belt slides past Brian McCann on Brandon Crawford's RBI single in the fourth. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
San Francisco

T. Lincecum
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 3
K 7
San Francisco

P. Sandoval
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Atlanta Braves
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jordan Schafer, RF3010000 .296
   a- Reed Johnson, PH-RF1010000 .244
Ramiro Pena, SS-3B4010002 .277
Brian McCann, C2000200 .278
Justin Upton, LF4000026 .269
Freddie Freeman, 1B4000012 .283
Dan Uggla, 2B3100100 .195
B.J. Upton, CF3000121 .153
Juan Francisco, 3B3000021 .274
    Luis Avilan, P0000000 .000
   b- Evan Gattis, PH1011000 .259
Kris Medlen, P2000010 .000
    Cory Gearrin, P0000000 .000
    Andrelton Simmons, SS2000001 .250
Totals3214148  
a-singled for Schafer in the 8th
b-doubled for Avilan in the 9th
Batting
2B - Evan Gattis (10, Romo)
RBI - Evan Gattis (20)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Gattis (10)
SB - Jordan Schafer (6, 2nd base off Lincecum/Posey)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Dan Uggla (5, Throwing), Justin Upton (3, Dropped line drive(Ground rule))
Atlanta Braves
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kris Medlen (L,1-5) 5.1853513 3.44
Cory Gearrin 0.2000000 1.08
Luis Avilan 2200100 2.57
IBB - Crawford by Kris Medlen
Pitches-Strikes - Kris Medlen 106-56, Cory Gearrin 5-2, Luis Avilan 36-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kris Medlen 11-5, Cory Gearrin 1-1, Luis Avilan 2-4
Batters Faced - Kris Medlen 30, Cory Gearrin 2, Luis Avilan 9
San Francisco Giants
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Angel Pagan, CF4010100 .259
Marco Scutaro, 2B5121002 .305
Pablo Sandoval, 3B4121101 .320
    Javier Lopez, P0000000 .000
    Sergio Romo, P0000000 .000
Buster Posey, C4010103 .294
Hunter Pence, RF5100007 .281
Brandon Belt, 1B3211100 .233
Gregor Blanco, LF3011100 .289
Brandon Crawford, SS3021100 .279
Tim Lincecum, P2000015 .071
    Jeremy Affeldt, P0000000 .000
    George Kontos, P0000000 .000
   a- Joaquin Arias, PH-3B1000000 .167
Totals34510561  
a-popped out for Kontos in the 8th
Batting
2B - Marco Scutaro (10, Medlen), Gregor Blanco (5, Medlen)
HR - Marco Scutaro (1, Medlen), Pablo Sandoval (6, Medlen), Brandon Belt (4, Medlen)
SH - Tim Lincecum (2)
RBI - Marco Scutaro (9), Pablo Sandoval (26), Brandon Belt (18), Gregor Blanco (13), Brandon Crawford (17)
2-OUT RBI - Pablo Sandoval (10), Gregor Blanco (5)
SB - Angel Pagan (5, 2nd base off Medlen/McCann), Hunter Pence (7, 2nd base off Medlen/McCann)
CS - Angel Pagan (3, 2nd base by Medlen/McCann)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
E - Pablo Sandoval (3, Dropped fly)
San Francisco Giants
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tim Lincecum (W,3-2) 7200370 4.07
Jeremy Affeldt 0.2100000 3.24
George Kontos 0.1000000 4.12
Javier Lopez 0.1000000 2.89
Sergio Romo 0.2111110 3.12
Pitches-Strikes - Tim Lincecum 111-65, Jeremy Affeldt 12-8, George Kontos 1-1, Javier Lopez 6-4, Sergio Romo 17-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tim Lincecum 8-6, Javier Lopez 1-0, Sergio Romo 1-0
Batters Faced - Tim Lincecum 26, Jeremy Affeldt 4, George Kontos 1, Javier Lopez 1, Sergio Romo 4
Game Information
Attendance - 42231
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Chris Conroy, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Jordan Baker