SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tim Lincecum believes its nothing more than a coincidence that he has looked more like a journeyman than a two-time Cy Young award winner since a 133-pitch masterpiece against Oakland last month.Lincecum matched his career-worst performance with seven runs allowed in four-plus innings as the San Francisco Giants lost 10-2 to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday.
“I don’t feel like it’s fatigue, I don’t feel like I’m getting tired,” Lincecum said. “I don’t feel like anything is broken. I just feel like it’s a matter of just getting back to being me.”
Lincecum (5-5) was far from it against Cincinnati, allowing seven earned runs for the first time since his rookie year in 2007. He allowed seven hits and walked four and struck out a career-low one batter.
He struggled with his control all afternoon, throwing 37 balls compared to 36 strikes, and had two wild pitches. He generated only two swings and misses all day — both to Drew Stubbs, who struck to open the game.
That was the high point for Lincecum who allowed an RBI single to Ryan Hanigan in the second inning, the two runs in the third and four runs in the fifth. Lincecum now has a 7.66 ERA in four starts since throwing 133 pitches in a shutout victory against Oakland last month.
“More than anything his fastball command’s off,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It was an off day for Timmy, I don’t know how else to tell you, especially with his command. That’s a good hitting ballclub and you’re going to pay for it if you’re off. There’s not much else to it, really. He feels good, he’s healthy. He’s just having trouble getting the ball where he wants.”
Mike Leake (6-2) had no such trouble for the Reds. He pitched eight scoreless innings and even chipped in with his bat, starting a pair of rallies with hits off Lincecum in the third and fifth innings.
“I take pride in my hitting,” Leake said. “I don’t like to get out. It’s more fun to get hits than it is to pitch good sometimes. … Anytime I’m squaring balls up, it’s pretty fun.”
Brandon Phillips hit a two-run double and scored twice and Joey Votto knocked the San Francisco ace out with an RBI double in the fifth inning to give the Reds their second win in three games in San Francisco.
Leake allowed four hits — including an infield popup by Eli Whiteside that third baseman Scott Rolen lost for a single — and struck out a career-high eight. He improved to 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four starts since a brief stint back in the minors.
“Mainly my head is just back on straight a little bit,” Leake said. “I think I lost it there for a little.”
Leake had a 21.21 ERA in two previous outings against the Giants, including giving up six runs while retiring one batter in a relief outing in his final appearance of the season last August.
Leake doubled to lead off the two-run third inning when the Reds scored on a groundout by Jay Bruce and a wild pitch by Lincecum to make it 3-0.
Leake then singled to start the four-run fifth. Stubbs followed with a walk and both players scored on Phillips double to left field. Votto’s RBI double ended Lincecum’s briefest outing of the season and Rolen added a sacrifice fly to make it 7-0.
“That was a rare outing by Lincecum,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s a two-time Cy Young award winner. He’s one of the best in the business. He wasn’t as sharp today as he usually is.”
The Reds, who went just 2-8 on their last road trip, have matched that total in three games in San Francisco. The pitching has had a big part in that with Johnny Cueto and two relievers combining on a 3-0 shutout Thursday night before Leake’s strong start. Pat Burrell broke up the shutout with a two-run homer in the ninth off Carlos Fisher — his first longball in 96 at-bats.
Cincinnati has gone a season-high four games without a home run, winning two of them.
Notes: Lincecum allowed seven runs, but only three earned runs, on May 16 against Colorado and seven earned runs to Toronto on June 13, 2007. … The Giants signed INF Bill Hall to replace injured 2B Freddy Sanchez. Hall entered the game in the fifth inning and walked in his first plate appearance for San Francisco. … The Reds are the only NL team that Lincecum has not beaten, excluding the Giants. He is 0-1 in three starts against Cincinnati.
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