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SF@NYM: Lincecum strikes out eight vs. Mets

NEW YORK -- Now that's more like it. Tim Lincecum found redemption from the worst three-start stretch of his career on Monday, and he didn't need his best command or control to do it.

Lincecum was hardly dominant in the first half of Monday's doubleheader against the Mets, but he used some early support from his offense to lead the Giants to an easy 6-1 victory. The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner worked just five innings in the win, but he left on a positive note.

And while a victory like that would normally be an after-thought for a pitcher of Lincecum's accomplishments, Monday's win was another animal. Lincecum had allowed at least five earned runs in each of his previous three outings, the first time in his charmed career for that kind of skid.

"It's a big step forward," said Lincecum. "I think I heard on the TV today the adages that people use. It's not a sprint, it's a marathon, so I can't always expect the big results right out the gate. Baby steps."

It had gotten so bad, in fact, that Lincecum had already allowed a total of nine runs in the first inning. Last year, for contrast, the right-hander had given up eight first-inning runs all season. The Giants staked Lincecum to two first-inning runs Monday, though, and they would never trail.

Catcher Buster Posey drilled a solo homer for the Giants (8-7) in the first inning, and right fielder Nate Schierholtz blasted a three-run shot in the third inning. Lincecum gave up his only run in the second inning, and Emmanuel Burriss helped turn a double play in the fifth to stifle the Mets.

Lincecum (1-2) had two strikeouts in the first inning and eight for the game, but he also gave up four hits and walked five batters. Mike Baxter drove in New York's first run, and Burriss short-circuited a rally in the fifth by making a sprawling backhand scoop and glove-flip into a double play.

"You don't have any control once it gets past you, and you're hoping your middle infielders take care of you in that situation," said Lincecum of the double play. "I'm getting really close with a lot of players now, and [when] guys see us scuffling like this, they want to pick us up. That was big for Manny."

Lincecum is now 55-5 for his career when the Giants score at least three runs. San Francisco had awarded him that kind of support twice previously this season, but neither instance was enough for a win. Schierholtz singled and tripled on Monday, falling just a double short of the cycle.

New York (8-7) pushed runners to second and third with no outs in the seventh inning, but the Giants' bullpen managed to escape the threat on a flyout, a strikeout and a groundout. Jeremy Affeldt walked the bases loaded with two outs in the inning, but he got Ike Davis to ground out to second to end the threat.

The Giants have won seven of their past 10 games, and they'll try to keep that streak going in Monday's nightcap, a game that pits Madison Bumgarner against Dillon Gee. San Francisco has scored at least four runs in all but one of its wins, and has scored more than four times in a loss just once. Comments