Giants ace Tim Lincecum in midseason form 

click to enlarge Tim Lincecum was on top of his game Monday, striking out four batters in four strong innings. - KYLE TERADA/US PRESSWIRE
  • Kyle Terada/US Presswire
  • Tim Lincecum was on top of his game Monday, striking out four batters in four strong innings.

SURPRISE, Ariz. — Tim Lincecum had a chance to stretch out, pitching four innings in a game for the first time this spring and virtually shutting down the Kansas City Royals to earn the win in the Giants’ 2-1 victory Monday.

Lincecum, who had been roughed up in his previous spring starts, entered the game with a 13.50 ERA, but knocked that down to 6.75 after keeping runners off the basepaths, facing the minimum number of batters through the first three innings.

Spring training is not where Lincecum typically puts up his best numbers. He finished Cactus League play in 2011 with a 3.43 ERA and in 2010 with a 6.94.

In the fourth, a ball hit by the Jarrod Dyson ricocheted off Lincecum’s foot and glove, giving the Royals their first hit of the game. Dyson eventually scored, partially due to a throwing error by catcher Eli Whiteside.

Mr. Versatile

Emmanuel Burriss — a player who could fill in as a replacement at second base from time to time should he make the 25-man roster — made a rare start in left field, showing off some versatility.

The 27-year-old Burriss, who is out of major-league options, also illustrated how he fits into the Giants’ new scheme by using his wheels.

Burriss stole second base in the third inning, coming around to score on a line drive to center field by fellow speedster Gregor Blanco that proved to be the difference in the game. Burriss also stole second in the fifth.

For a club that spent its offseason acquiring catalyst types such as Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera, Burriss would seem to fit into the Giants’ new method of generating offense. Having speed off the bench and the ability to play in the outfield or middle infield would give Giants manager Bruce Bochy options. Bochy already has Aubrey Huff and Brandon Belt, who figure to shift between first base and outfield.

Freddy nears defensive debut

Freddy Sanchez is still waiting to take the field at second base this spring and is slated to play defense sometime this week. Sanchez reportedly worked on some throwing drills at the Scottsdale facility before making the trip over to Surprise for DH duties.

Sanchez has had a long road back from his injury June 10, when he dislocated his throwing shoulder, popping up after diving for a ball to his right. The incident was just one of what turned out to be a perfect storm of ailments that largely led to the Giants falling out of first place in the National League West in 2011.

AROUND THE HORN
Conor Gillaspie hit his first home run of spring training to lead off the second inning, a hard shot to right-center field that put the Giants on the board early. ... Brian Wilson had a day of rest, despite throwing only nine pitches Sunday, 16 less than what he was budgeted for. Expect for him to make an appearance today when the Giants take on the Chicago Cubs at Scottsdale Stadium at 1:05 p.m.

csteudeman@sfexaminer.com

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Curtis Steudeman

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