DENVER — Giants manager Bruce Bochy wasn’t sure Tim Lincecum would survive the first inning Sunday. As Lincecum tried to hold on and escape what became a 36-pitch ordeal, Bochy had Shane Loux up and throwing.
But Lincecum escaped that shaky first, regrouped and continued his second-half resurgence for the Giants, who beat the free-falling Colorado Rockies 8-3 to sweep their three-game series. That kept the Giants a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
Lincecum tied his season high with five walks, including two in the first when the Rockies scored once, but left the bases loaded, and he never retired the side in order. But he worked six innings, and the final five were scoreless.
“I didn’t know how much we could get out of him,” Bochy said. “So that was impressive what he did.”
The Rockies have lost eight of their past nine games and are 5-16 since the All-Star break to drop to 38-68.
Although he was far from efficient and stranded eight runners, Lincecum, who is 6-11 with a 5.43 ERA, improved to 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in five starts — four of them won by the Giants — after the All-Star break.
“I’ve just been trying to stay competitive,” Lincecum said. “That’s the biggest thing. When I go out there and I’m not throwing well, I know that [something] extra is going to get me through — my competitive side. So being able to lean on that helped me today when obviously I didn’t have my best stuff.”
The Giants outscored the Rockies 35-13 in the series. The Giants entered the series having lost seven of their previous eight games, a stretch in which they scored 19 runs. This was the 13th time this season the Giants had the opportunity to sweep a series of three or more games. They completed their fourth sweep and first since July 13-15 against the Houston Astros at AT&T Park.
Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez and Hunter Pence all collected two hits for the Giants. As for Pence, it was his biggest day as a Giant. The right fielder doubled twice, drove in three runs and also scored a run. Coming into Sunday’s game, Pence was just 2-for-17 in his first four games with San Francisco.
NOTES: Bochy said third baseman Pablo Sandoval (left hamstring strain) is about a week away from returning. Sandoval, who is eligible to be activated Thursday, took ground balls again before Sunday’s game and accompanied the team to St. Louis. ... Posey made his 17th start of the season at first base. ... The Rockies placed ex-Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez (left biceps tendinitis) on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Saturday.
— The Sports Xchange via Reuters