A shutout sweep 

click to enlarge Franchise renewed: Tim Lincecum turned in his best start of the season, propelling them into a share of first place with the Dodgers in the NL West. - ALL: GODOFREDO VASQUEZ/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • all: godofredo vasquez/special to the s.f. examiner
  • Franchise renewed: Tim Lincecum turned in his best start of the season, propelling them into a share of first place with the Dodgers in the NL West.

Tim Lincecum picked a good time to rediscover his Cy Young Award form.

The slumping San Francisco right-hander pitched seven strong innings, leading the Giants to a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers that completed a three-game sweep at AT&T Park. The Giants pulled even with the Dodgers for first place in the National League West by throwing shutouts in all three games.

Lincecum earned his first win since April 28, as he scattered four hits and two walks while striking out eight. With the victory, Lincecum ended a six-game losing streak (over 10 starts), the longest of his career.

“Winning, it’s a lot better than losing, that’s the easiest way to put it,” Lincecum said. “A win today is big enough for me, and I’ll take and roll off that, so seven shutout is even better, but at the same time, I know I’ve got work to do these next four days and get ready for my next outing.”

Angel Pagan drove in two runs, while Melky Cabrera added an RBI double for the Giants, who earned their fifth win in six games.

“It sounds awesome, especially for how far back we’ve been for most of the season,” Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford said of being tied for the division lead. Crawford had three hits. “I heard we hadn’t been this close to first place since Opening Day. To come back like this against a team that had been hot until the last week or two is pretty fun.”

In the seventh inning, the Dodgers had runners on first and second, but Lincecum got Tony Gwynn Jr. to fly out to center and struck out Juan Uribe.

Javier Lopez retired the two batters he faced in the eighth, and Sergio Romo pitched a perfect 1¹⁄³ innings for his fourth save.

It was the first time in the West Coast era of the rivalry since 1958 that the Dodgers were shut out by the Giants in three consecutive games.

Chad Billingsley lost his third straight start, allowing three runs over six innings. The Dodgers lost eight of nine games on their road trip.

“It’s definitely never good when you get swept, especially in your own division,” Billingsley said. “It’s one game, but it’s a long season. We’ve got a long way to go.”

The Giants took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Lincecum led off with a single, and Ryan Theriot’s single to center advanced Lincecum to third. Cabrera hit a line-drive double to left center just off the glove of Bobby Abreu, who made a diving attempt but came up empty. Billingsley then issued back-to-back walks, the second one to Pagan with the bases loaded.

Theriot doubled to deep right-center in the fifth inning and scored on a single to right field by Pagan.

The Dodgers squandered many opportunities. With two on and one out in the first inning, Juan Rivera grounded into a double play. In the third, Billingsley doubled to deep right-center and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

Lincecum uncorked another wild one as his pitch bounced off the dirt and to the backstop, but catcher Hector Sanchez got the ball and threw to Lincecum, who tagged Billingsley as he slid into home plate.

NOTE: Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier left the game after the top of the first inning. He injured his left oblique sliding into second base as Rivera grounded into a double play.

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Ryan Leong

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