The Giants hope to return the favor Saturday night, when they send last year’s other Cy Young Award winner to the mound.
Philadelphia’s search for a starter to front its rotation ended Wednesday when it acquired Lee from Cleveland on Wednesday. Lee was 7-9 with the Indians this year after finishing 22-3 in 2008, but the Phillies (59-42) got exactly what they were looking for in the left-hander’s debut Friday night.
Lee carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed only four hits in a complete-game 5-1 victory. At the plate, he added two hits - doubling his career total - and scored his first career run as Philadelphia rebounded from its first consecutive losses since a three-game skid June 30-July 2.
The Giants (56-47) admitted they were impressed with Lee’s performance, but they’ve seen their share of similar efforts from Lincecum (11-3, 2.30 ERA).
The right-hander bounced back from a subpar outing by limiting Pittsburgh to two unearned runs and four hits in a complete-game 4-2 victory Monday. He struck out a career high 15, becoming the third Giants pitcher to so do since 1958, and the first since Jason Schmidt(notes) struck out 16 on June 6, 2006.
“I’ll go home, soak up the win, maybe joke about the strikeouts, and hopefully, just get better from here,” Lincecum, the major league leader with 183 strikeouts, told the Giants’ official Web site.
After totaling two complete games in his first 69 career starts, Lincecum has four in his last nine.
“Every game is a little bit different, and I think he realizes that, as far as stuff and command,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s what’s so impressive about him, his ability to adjust to a lineup or his stuff to that day.”
Lincecum struggled against the Phillies as a rookie in 2007, posting a 9.00 ERA over two starts. He had much more success in two games against them last year, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA.
Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins(notes) is 1 for 11 (.091) with three strikeouts lifetime against Lincecum, while second baseman Chase Utley(notes) is 2 for 11 (.182) with a home run, a double and four strikeouts.
The right-hander held St. Louis to two runs over eight innings of a 9-2 victory Sunday, improving to 3-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last four starts - all Phillies wins. He’s 6-1 since May 21, and the Phillies are 20-12 in his 32 starts since they acquired him from Oakland last season.
“He surprised me from the time I saw him in Oakland, since he’s come over here,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel told the team’s official Web site. “He’s a better pitcher than I thought he was.”
Blanton is 1-2 with a 5.74 ERA in five career starts against San Francisco.
Giants first baseman Ryan Garko(notes) - Lee’s teammate with Cleveland before San Francisco traded for him Monday - is 5 for 14 (.357) with three homers, one double and two walks in his career against Blanton.