Timmy was looking straight into the abyss. In Oakland Friday night (6/22) he had allowed hits to the first three batters – the A’s already had three runs in, nobody out, and the bases were still loaded. A defensive miscue didn’t help matters. He had thrown 33 pitches. Shane Loux was warming up in the bullpen and Lincecum was one hit away from being pulled.
It was gut check time for Timmy. He was on the brink of implosion – down 3-0 with the bases loaded and nobody out. Then with his 34th pitch, he struck out Brandon Moss. Then he struck out Kurt Suzuki and then, with his 43rd pitch of the first inning, struck out Cliff Pennington. He had struck out the side, stopped the bleeding and given his team a chance.
Timmy turned the inning around, the game, and perhaps his season. There have been other signs this year that Lincecum was close to snapping out of his funk. But the Giants’ stunning 5-4 victory in Oakland on Friday night just might have been Timmy’s turning point.
Timmy overcame the freakish first inning. After throwing 43 pitches in the first inning, he needed only 62 to finish the final five. He allowed no more hits after that. The final line: three runs over six innings, while tying a season-high with 8 strikeouts. And he did it by getting mad after digging his team a 3-0 hole.
Timmy left after six trailing 3-1. He had gone through another one of “those” innings, but the five that followed gave him and his team hope that maybe, just maybe, he has found the answer he has been seeking from the first day of spring training.
“Great game, great comeback and it started with Timmy,” manager Bruce Bochy said after the Giants won a Tim Lincecum start for the first time since April 28, a span of 10 starts. “Timmy said enough is enough and took control,’’ Bochy added. “More than anything, there was a sense of determination. He got mad. You have to play that way sometimes.
“I just got mad in the right way,” Lincecum said. “When things are going rough, your first emotion is obviously being upset with yourself, then ashamed and then pissed. I tried to channel that madness out on the field and stop worrying about the stuff that happened behind me that I can’t control.”