Big innings have haunted both Tim Lincecum (6-12, 4.38 ERA) and Jon Lester (10-7, 4.31) all season long. Tuesday at AT&T Park it was Lincecum’s turn. After a single-walk-single, sac fly in the second inning, Lincecum faced Lester who had to bat under National League rules. Lester squared to bunt with one out and men on first and second. Lincecum balked after getting hung up on the rubber and a terrible one it was. On the next pitch Lester laid down a perfect bunt, Jacoby Ellsbury got aboard on catcher interference and Shane Victorino singled sharply to put the Sox up 3-0.
Lester was in control all the way, turning in 9 1/3 innings of six hit shut out ball. He got all the backing he needed from five Red Sox hitters, each with a run knocked in and never looked back after retiring the first nine Giants he faced.
On the heels of three straight series losses, the Red Sox pulled into San Francisco Tuesday night to play the Giants badly needing the win. Off kilter due to one of those weirdo MLB scheduling quirks (Boston flew yesterday, checked into their hotel and essentially ran to the ballpark about a half hour later), the stage was set for a terrible Red Sox outing. What happened was quite the opposite.
In this game especially anything could happen. The Giants are, after all, shockingly in last place in the NL West, 17 games behind the first place Dodgers. A cake walk series, right? Not quite. Ask Boston how recent series with the Royals, Blue Jays and Yankees turned out.
The Sox picked up another run in the fifth when Stephen Drew doubled to score Daniel Nava. More importantly, Boston had driven Lincecum’s pitch count to 95. The writing was on the wall. After a single to Ellsbury to open the sixth, Giants’ Manager Bruce Bochy had seen enough and yanked Lincecum. It was another pedestrian night for a guy collecting a $22 million 2013 paycheck. A hit batsman and wild pitch later by reliever Guillermo Moscoso and Boston owned a 5-0 lead.
They’d tack on two more in the ninth as Brandon Workman would strike out two to nail down a stellar Sox win.
Jake Peavey (1-1, 5.00 ERA) takes the bump tonight against Ryan Vogelsong (2-4, 6.75 ERA).