“I looked like I was lost,” he said. “I’m finding my way. … I’ve quit doubting myself.”
It sure seems that way—and it didn’t hurt to get plenty of support and even see a couple of balls clear the fences.
Pat Burrell(notes) hit a go-ahead two-run homer in his Giants home debut back in his native Bay Area, helping Lincecum end a four-start winless streak and lead San Francisco past the Oakland Athletics 6-2 on Friday night in the Bay Bridge Series.
“It feels pretty good. It’s just been so long,” Molina said.
The two runs from Burrell’s homer doubled the Giants’ total from all three games of a sweep by the A’s last month in Oakland. His first drive since joining San Francisco on June 4 also snapped a 22-inning scoreless streak against the A’s.
Lincecum (6-2), the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, won for the first time since May 15 against Houston and ended a two-start skid at home.
The right-hander sure seems back on track. He allowed two runs and seven hits, struck out seven and walked one in eight innings. His fastball found its spots and his off-speed stuff was right on target, too.
“That’s the Timmy we know,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “More than anything it was the rhythm he had going. His confidence grew. It looks like he’s back on track. That’s big for us.”
Brian Wilson(notes) relieved Jeremy Affeldt(notes) in the ninth with two outs and runners on the corners, getting Cliff Pennington(notes) on a called third strike to end the 2-hour, 21-minute game for his 16th save in 18 chances.
Bochy moved rookie Buster Posey(notes) up to the No. 3 hole for the first time and dropped the struggling Pablo Sandoval(notes) to seventh. Posey delivered with an RBI triple in the seventh, when San Francisco scored another run on Tyson Ross’(notes) wild pitch.
The hit gave Posey a 10-game hitting streak, longest by an NL rookie in 2010.
Oakland’s Kevin Kouzmanoff(notes) extended his career-best hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single in the first that scored Ryan Sweeney(notes) after he advanced twice on wild pitches. It took Lincecum 17 pitches to get through the inning. After that, he cruised.
“As you get older, you expect more out of yourself, so the struggles are harder to take,” Lincecum said. “It’s nice to find my way out of the hole and know it’s not an endless hole.”
Gabe Gross(notes) grounded out to end the first, starting a stretch in which Lincecum retired 16 of 17 batters and allowed only a one-out walk to Mark Ellis(notes) in the third before Kouzmanoff singled leading off the seventh. Jack Cust(notes) had a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth for the A’s, who were managed by bench coach Tye Waller as Bob Geren was attending the high school graduation of his son, Bobby.
“They did their homework and they went out there and showed it,” Gonzalez said.
The Giants were eager to make up for that awful series against the A’s.
“We remember,” Molina said. “We’re not trying to put these games as being key to the season but we want to come out and score some runs. Guys were pumped. I hope we bring that same intensity tomorrow.”
Gonzalez struck out on four pitches in his first career at-bat and first since 2006 while with Double-A Reading in the Phillies organization. He was 2 for 16 that season.
“He took one, then made a funny comment like, ‘Whoa, that was fast,”’ Molina said.
Ellis stole second against Lincecum in the third. Runners have gone 17 of 17 on steal attempts with Lincecum on the mound dating to last season, including 14 for 14 this year.
But Ellis also was called out in a close play at the plate in the first inning on a throw home from Posey at first.
The Giants improved to 5-0 while wearing their “Orange Friday” home jerseys, outscoring opponents 28-7.
NOTES: Giants LF Mark DeRosa(notes), sidelined while dealing with numbness and nerve irritation in his left wrist and hand, was undergoing further tests Friday. A decision on the next step for him could be made in the coming days, and surgery is a possibility. … Oakland CF Rajai Davis(notes), whose left hamstring tightened up on a triple Monday, missed his fourth straight start but was expected to return to the lineup Saturday. … C Landon Powell(notes) was called up from Triple-A Sacramento to replace Kurt Suzuki(notes), who is on the bereavement list for the weekend series. … The Giants sold out for the eighth time this season (41,817).