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04/13/08 7:13 PM ET
Bowker, Lincecum star in Giants' win
Rookie homers for second straight game; starter strikes out 11
By Rick Eymer / Special to MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants called up John Bowker to provide a little bit of power, and he's already overloaded the circuit. Bowker, who struggled during Spring Training and early in the Triple-A season, has found his comfort zone and then some. In the first two games of his Major League career, Bowker is already second on the team in home runs and runs batted in. Bowker hit his second home run in as many days and drove in four runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 7-4, in Sunday's series finale. Bowker wasn't expected to start Monday night's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and that's probably a blessing in disguise. He desperately needs some sleep. "It's time to go back to the hotel and get some rest," he said. "It's been crazy and a lot of fun." Bowker didn't have much time to pack up and make it to San Francisco for his Major League debut Saturday, and he spent most of the night catching up with family and friends. "The kid has been a shot in the arm for us coming up and doing what he's doing," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's comfortable and he can hit. We needed some power and he's provided that the last couple of games." Bowker became the first San Francisco Giant to homer in his first two games, slamming a two-run shot during a five-run rally in the fourth inning against Joel Pineiro, who was making his season debut. He also added a run-scoring single and sacrifice fly. "I have been working on getting comfortable," Bowker said. "I was finding my timing. I have been swinging at bad pitches. Now I feel comfortable out there and I'm trying to get good pitches to hit. Tim Lincecum won his second straight decision and the Giants have won in each of his three appearances this year. He pitched another six strong innings, becoming only the second Giants starter to earn a victory, joining Kevin Correia. He allowed two runs on six hits over six innings, walking one and striking out 11, one off his career high and the third time he's struck out 10 or more in a game. Lincecum retired eight in a row, six by strikeouts, during one point in the game. Eugenio Velez added a two-run single and Lincecum drove in a run with a single, both in the fourth. Matt Cain hit a home run Saturday, but don't expect to see him or Lincecum batting eighth any time soon, a la the Cardinals. "I'm just getting lucky out there," Lincecum said. "I'm throwing the bat at the ball. It was more of a good pitch than a good swing." Tyler Walker got out of a critical jam in the eighth to help the Giants, getting St. Louis leadoff hitter Skip Schumaker to ground out with the bases loaded. Brian Wilson pitched the ninth for his third save. "That's huge," said Bochy. "We had to have as tough a loss as we can [Saturday]. It was disheartening. But you need to be resilient as a club and a player. Walker goes out there when we needed a big out, makes some good pitches and got us out of there."
Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.