SAN DIEGO -- Tim Lincecum is keeping the Giants guessing, which he still isn't doing quite often enough with opposing hitters.Lincecum blanked the San Diego Padres for five innings Tuesday night, dominating the National League West's last-place occupants as he should. Unfortunately for Lincecum and the Giants, he actually pitched six innings -- including the second, when San Diego tattooed him for four runs. But the outcome ultimately rested not upon Lincecum's right arm, but Steve Edlefsen's. The reliever surrendered Logan Forsythe's tiebreaking ninth-inning home run that lifted the Padres to a 6-5 victory and ended the Giants' four-game winning streak. Led by Ryan Theriot, who stroked three run-scoring hits, the Giants overcame a 4-0 deficit and surged ahead, 5-4, giving Lincecum a chance to win his first game since he defeated the Padres at AT&T Park on April 28. "The guys played well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I can't say enough about how we battled. We did a lot of good things." That included Lincecum's effort, enigmatic as it was. The disastrous second inning, which featured Carlos Quentin's first of two homers and Cameron Maybin's two-run double, continued his season-long tendency of one-inning lapses. Lincecum has allowed at least three runs in an inning seven times this year. But in four subsequent innings, Lincecum looked as dazzling as ever, surrendering just one hit while matching a season high by striking out eight batters -- exactly two per inning. "That's the best I've seen him throw this year," Theriot said. Lincecum recovered by adjusting his weight transfer in his pitching motion and throwing his changeup more frequently.
"From the beginning to the end, I felt like things were fine," Lincecum said. "After that [second] inning, I just tried to gather myself and keep us in the game."Padres manager Bud Black said of Lincecum, "I saw better secondary pitches down below the zone. From that point [the second inning] on, he had better command of the fastball and he kept his breaking ball down." The bottom line remained ugly. San Francisco is 2-10 when Lincecum pitches, having lost his last seven starts. He already has allowed four or more runs in eight outings, matching the total he reached in 33 starts last season. "As a starter, your job is to put your team in position to win. Obviously I haven't been doing that up until now," Lincecum said. "I'm definitely going to make that my focal point for however many months we have left." Actually, the Giants rallied while Lincecum remained in the game. They scored in the third inning off Padres starter Anthony Bass as Gregor Blanco tripled with two outs and came home on Theriot's single. Then came a rousing three-run sixth, which began with Blanco's single and Theriot's RBI double. Melky Cabrera bunted for a hit, though television replays confirmed suspicions that he actually was out at first base. Buster Posey and Brandon Belt delivered sacrifice flies, the latter coming after Angel Pagan's single chased Bass and moved Cabrera to third. San Francisco inched ahead in the seventh after Brandon Crawford christened the inning by singling off Padres reliever Andrew Cashner. Crawford stole second base and scored on Theriot's two-out, two-strike single to right field -- quite an accomplishment, given Cashner's velocity.
"There's really not much you can do with a 100-mph fastball," said Theriot, who's batting .412 (14-for-34) in his last 10 games. "You just try to put the barrel on it and hope something good happens."The Padres forged a 5-5 tie with one out in the eighth as Jeremy Affeldt yielded Quentin's second homer of the evening. San Francisco left the bases loaded in the ninth as Posey grounded out, leaving matters up to Edlefsen. Ordinarily, Sergio Romo might have pitched. But with closer Santiago Casilla still unavailable, Bochy had to save Romo for the closer's role in case the Giants recaptured the lead. That never happened. Forsythe, who was reinstated from the disabled list Sunday, belted Edlefsen's 1-0 fastball deep into the left-field seats for his first Major League home run in 64 games dating back to last year. "The pitch was supposed to be away. It just came back over the plate a little bit," Edlefsen said. "I don't expect anything like that. I don't give up too many of those. I rely on getting ground balls. This is a tough one to swallow. [Bochy] trusted me to go out there in a tie game. That's when I want the ball."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.