05/05/09 8:10 PM ET
Lincecum gets all he needs vs. Cubs
Molina's three-run homer enough support for Giants ace
By David Brown / Special to MLB.com
Referring to pitching at Wrigley Field, his favorite ballpark, Lincecum recalled that it was a setting for the 1990s comedy "Rookie of the Year."
Lincecum's rare combination of athletic skill, social awareness and pop-culture appreciation continues to make him one of baseball's top attractions.
Staked to a quick lead thanks to Bengie Molina's three-run home run in the first inning, Lincecum stayed on a roll and the Giants beat the Cubs, 6-2, on Tuesday afternoon.
Lincecum improved to 23-1 for his career when getting three or more runs of support, and the Giants -- who came in trailing the Majors in offense -- improved to 11-0 this season when scoring first.
"The first inning was big for us," Lincecum said. "[As a pitcher] you don't want to coast out there, either. You want to go out and not give up any runs."
Lincecum (3-1) wasn't perfect and did not have to be. Against a Cubs lineup full of reserves and only one right-handed batter, Lincecum allowed both runs, four hits and two walks over seven innings to win his third straight start. He also struck out seven. After two subpar outings to start the season, Lincecum has a 1.80 ERA over four starts since April 18.
"Things are going well right now," Lincecum said. "You just try to feed off what you did in the last one and try to get better from that. I know I'm going to go through ups and downs throughout the season. Hopefully they're not back-to-back."
He also likes pitching in Wrigley Field, where he is 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in three career starts.
"I love this field," Lincecum said. "Not just for the history, but one of my favorite movies of all time was 'Rookie of the Year,' with Henry Rowengartner and all that good stuff."
The Rowengartner character was a 12-year-old boy who, after a freak accident, was able to throw more than 100 mph. Of course the Cubs signed him, hilarity ensued and the kid led them to a World Series championship. Only in the movies.
"People used to call me 'Rowengartner,'" Lincecum said. "Or 'Rosinbagger.'"
Lincecum could just call Molina a good teammate after he lined his fifth homer of the season with two aboard in the first against Sean Marshall (0-2). Molina said he was looking for a pitch middle-in.
"It feels good not just for [Lincecum], but everybody," said Molina, who was aware of the Giants' record when scoring first. "It's always great to start with the lead."
Aaron Rowand added a two-run double and Randy Winn followed with a run-scoring single in the eighth. Both players had been struggling. Winn had a hit from each side of the plate.
"Makes life easier, you know?" manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've been looking for a big hit. It's kind of what we've been missing here."
Molina said the offense is better than it has shown.
"It's great to see a lot of us contribute," Molina said. "The pitching has been outstanding. We need to step up as hitters. Once we score runs, it's going to be fun."
Molina said the gameplan with Lincecum changed some after Cubs manager Lou Piniella presented a lineup without Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Milton Bradley, Ryan Theriot and Geovany Soto.
"Last night I started thinking about today's game but when I came in today, it wasn't even close with the lineup they had [Monday]," Molina said. "We had to think it over again and see how we were going to pitch those guys."
Lincecum, who allowed an RBI single to Marshall in the fifth, said he tried to keep the Cubs guessing with changeups and curveballs.
"I was kind of pitching backwards than I usually do," Lincecum said.
David Brown is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.