DENVER -- The Giants managed to pick up the smithereens Wednesday after Tim Lincecum made the shortest of his 157 career starts, a mere 2 1/3 innings. They survived that unexpected event, erased the six-run deficit he created and even took the lead.
But the Rockies, who had scored just 10 runs in their first four games, scored in each of the first five innings. They treated relievers Guillermo Mota and Jeremy Affeldt as rudely as Lincecum and whipped the Giants, 17-8.
Lincecum came off an Opening Day outing that saw him give up six hits, including two homers, and five runs in 5 1/3 innings at Arizona. He threw 76 pitches in 2 1/3 innings and left after giving up eight hits and six runs.
"I actually thought his stuff was a little crisper [than his first start]," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He just was up, though, the same thing. He left a lot of pitches up, a lot of mistakes when he was ahead in the count. Tough time putting some hitters away."
Lincecum got ahead of Carlos Gonzalez 1-2 in the first but elevated a fastball that Gonzalez, able to get his arms extended, belted to left-center for a run-scoring triple. In the third, Gonzalez, who had four RBIs, again tripled, this time on a changeup that Lincecum said "just kind of sat in the middle of the zone."
"A lot of pitches thrown in 2 1/3 and just sloppy baseball for me," said Lincecum, who has a 12.91 ERA and is scheduled to make his first home start Monday against the Phillies. "Just not really executing pitches and missing a lot. That's going to hurt you, especially here in this park."
The game was a flashback to the 1995-2001 pre-humidor era at Coors Field when there was a steady current of runs, leads were tenuous, hitters feasted and pitchers hoped for the best but feared the worst. The two teams combined for 29 hits through five innings -- the final hit total was 34, 22 by the Rockies -- and in the fifth, things turned tragicomic for the Giants.
The Rockies scored seven runs in that inning, matching the Giants' seven-run fourth. In the fifth, pinch-hitter Eric Young Jr. batted twice, bunting for a single to lead off and tripling home the final run of the inning. First baseman Brett Pill made two errors on a play that began with a run-scoring single by Ramon Hernandez and ended with Hernandez sliding past third but reaching back and getting his hand on the base ahead of Pablo Sandoval's tag.
Lincecum had lasted three innings three times in his career, the last on June 27, 2010, against the Red Sox. After giving up two runs in the first and another in the second, he was hit hard in the third. A double off the right-field wall by leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler, who came to the plate 1-for-12, and Gonzalez's second triple began a barrage of four straight hits. Lincecum gave up a fifth hit in the inning, Hernandez's run-scoring single, walked Chris Nelson and then headed to the Giants bench.
Lincecum was 8-6 with a 3.27 ERA in 18 previous starts against the Rockies, including 10 at Coors Field where he had gone 4-3 with a 3.61 ERA.
"We've seen him enough," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "We did a very good job against him. We didn't do a lot of chasing tonight. We might've had a couple pitches where we expanded our strike zone, but for the most part, we made him throw the ball over the plate."
Lincecum seemed destined for his fourth straight defeat and second this season. But the Giants sent 11 batters to the plate in the seven-run fourth, which began when Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford became the first Giants to hit back-to-back homers this season, going long off starter Jeremy Guthrie, who lasted 3 1/3 innings. Schierholtz also homered in the seventh, matching his career high with his second two-homer game.
"We put up that seven, and I think throughout the whole game we thought we could put up another one," Pill said. "It's deflating when you score a bunch of runs like that. When you're having that success early, we thought we could do it again. Tonight it didn't happen."
Mota gave up four straight hits after Scutaro opened the fourth by reaching base on second baseman Emmanuel Burriss' throwing error. Mota needed 29 pitches to work one inning, giving up six hits and five runs, one unearned. Affeldt fared only slightly better than Mota, allowing six hits while throwing 46 pitches in two innings and yielding five runs, three unearned thanks to the fielding follies in the fifth.
"We were hoping to have an inning or two of clean baseball, but that didn't happen," Bochy said. "Then it got real ugly with the defense and scuffling out there trying to get an out. We got to tighten some things up on the pitching side and defense right now."
Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.