Tim Lincecum took a self-described “baby step” forward Monday night.
Many of his San Francisco Giants teammates were in full stride all night long.
Lincecum picked up his first victory of the season in a 6-1 victory over the New York Mets in Game 1 of the teams’ doubleheader Monday, while the Giants pounded the Mets throughout both games, completing the sweep with a 7-2 win in Game 2.
Pablo Sandoval homered in the first inning of the second game to extend his hitting streak to 16 games and tie Willie Mays’ San Francisco Giants record to start a season, while Nate Schierholtz added two hits in the nightcap after racking up three, including a home run, in Game 1.
Hector Sanchez hit his first major-league homer in Game 2 for the Giants, who took the series, 3-1, and have won five of their last six.
The Mets dropped their fifth in six tries, giving up 24 hits in the two games, while managing just 13. New York also now has to monitor Jason Bay, who left in the eighth inning of Game 2, a few innings after he stumbled after fully extending in an attempt to catch Gregor Blanco’s two-run double in the fourth.
The Mets said X-rays were negative, but Bay said he wasn’t sure if he could play Tuesday and would be further evaluated.
“It was just a miserable day,” said Bay of the back-to-back losses. “It’s very disappointing.”
For Giants manager Bruce Bochy, it was a nice way to rebound from Saturday’s frustrating ninth-inning loss, following Sunday’s rainout.
“It’s not easy to win a doubleheader,” Bochy said. “Pitched well. Put two games together, well-played games.”
Madison Baumgarner (2-2) won the second game, while Dillon Gee allowed seven runs on a career-worst 12 hits to take the loss in that game.
The Mets’ frustratingly long day was perfectly represented by Ike Davis’ pinch-hit strikeout with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth of Game 2, when the Mets trailed 7-2. Davis was frozen on a called third strike, and threw his bat in frustration, after watching his average fall to .136 for the season.
“He’s really trying to make one swing do a lot,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of Davis between games.
Sandoval got the Giants off to a good start in Game 2, putting himself in some nice company by extending his hitting streak and giving San Francisco a 2-0 lead.
“Big hit with two strikes, the home run, and he’s played good ball,” Bochy said. “That’s historic, when you tie Willie Mays.”
Building off the momentum of the last five innings of his previous start, Lincecum allowed one run on four hits in Game 1 while walking five and striking out eight.
The two-time Cy Young award winner, who entered the game with a 0-2 record and 10.54 ERA, came out with his best performance of the year, but also got some key help from his teammates.
Buster Posey and Schierholtz homered in the opener for the Giants.
Schierholtz also singled and tripled in Game 1, falling a double shy of the cycle.
Spot starter Miguel Batista took the loss for the Mets. Rookie reliever Jeremy Hefner had a whirlwind day, pitching three shutout innings in his major-league debut after getting called up earlier in the day and immediately getting demoted after the first game of the doubleheader.
Lincecum’s outing followed his start against Philadelphia last week, when he allowed four first-inning runs, but just one run in his next five innings.
“Definition of battling, as far as it goes in my mind,” Lincecum said. “... Tried to take my five innings I had in my last outing and bring them into this one. Big step for me. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. ... Baby steps and I’ll take what I get right now.”
Batista allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings for the Mets, who managed just seven hits against Lincecum and three relievers.
“I would say I missed my location three times,” Batista said before describing the homers by Posey and Schierholtz. “Buster hit a good pitch. The other guy, that one was down the middle.”
Four Mets relievers held the Giants scoreless the rest of the way, with Hefner making his debut after a two-hour ride from a private car service took him and infielder Jordany Valdespin to New York. Mets infielder Ronny Cedeno was put on the disabled list before Game 1. Hefner was activated for the first game, traveling from Allenstown, Pa., where Class AAA Buffalo had been. Hefner was demoted back to Class AAA Buffalo after Game 1 and Valdespin was activated.
“It was a dream come true,” said Hefner, who was still smiling despite his post-game demotion. “My first time pitching in the big leagues, I had a good outing, everything went well. Just wish we won.”
Along with some early offensive support, thanks to Posey and Schierholtz, Lincecum was bailed out in the bottom of the fifth by a spectacular defensive play.
With the Giants leading 6-1 and the bases loaded with one out, Davis grounded a ball up the middle. Second baseman Emmanuel Burriss ranged to his right to snare it, then flipped the ball to shortstop Brandon Crawford using his glove.
The throw was slightly high, but Crawford reeled it in with his bare hand before throwing back to first, almost in one motion, to complete the inning-ending double play.
“That was a great play,” Lincecum said. “Got the defense behind me. That kind of stuff, as pitchers, we need, when we’re scuffling.”
Posey gave the Giants a 2-0 lead with his solo homer in the first inning, following Sandoval’s RBI single and Melky Cabrera’s walk.
The Mets scored their one run off Lincecum on an RBI double by Mike Baxter in the second.
The Giants added to their 2-1 lead on a three-run homer by Schierholtz off Batista in the third inning, which was extended by a two-out error by Davis. An RBI double by Crawford in the fourth made it 6-1.
NOTES: Mets INF Ronny Cedeno (left intercoastal strain) was put on the 15-day DL before the game. ... OF Andres Torres (strained left calf) and RHP D.J. Carrasco (sprained right ankle) began rehab assignments with Class A Port St. Lucie on Monday. ... 3B David Wright said it would be “a little odd seeing” former SS Jose Reyes return to Citi Field as a Miami Marlin on Tuesday. “It will be a little strange,” he said of seeing his long-time teammate in a different uniform. “But all in all I’m excited.” ... Giants 2B Freddy Sanchez (right shoulder dislocation) was scheduled to start a rehab assignment for Class A San Jose on Monday night. He was expected to DH Monday, then play the field later in the week. ... C Buster Posey and CF Angel Pagan were given the second game off. Hector Sanchez and Gregor Blanco started in their places.