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Giants 4, Brewers 1

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum stymied the Milwaukee Brewers on one hit in eight shutout innings and Brandon Belt provided all the offensive support the right-hander needed with a three-run, first-inning homer as the San Francisco Giants salvaged a series split with a 4-1 victory on Thursday afternoon.

Lincecum (6-11) posted his first win since no-hitting the San Diego Padres on July 13. He struck out eight in eight innings, allowing only two base runners -- a third-inning double by Juan Francisco and a fifth-inning walk by Jeff Bianchi.

The Giants, who had lacked power at home and gotten no production out of the leadoff spot in recent games, resolved both issues in a decisive first inning against Brewers starter Donovan Hand (0-4).

Leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro set the stage for the difference-making inning when he battled Hand for 10 pitches before lining the 11th into left-center field for a single. Remarkably, it was the first hit for a Giants leadoff man in their last 23 plate appearances.

After Brandon Crawford doubled and Pablo Sandoval flied out to shallow center field, Belt, batting cleanup for the first time in his big-league career, smacked an inside fastball just over the 25-foot-high brick wall in right field for his 12th home run of the season and a 3-0 lead.

The home run was the Giants' first in their last 12 home games, a span of 101 innings.

Lincecum took it from there, winning for the first time since the no-hitter. It was the fourth time this season he has pitched at least six innings without allowing a run.

The Brewers denied the Giants' their 11th shutout of the season by scoring a run off the San Francisco bullpen in the ninth. Jean Segura's one-out single off closer Sergio Romo scored Khris Davis, who had opened the inning with a pinch-double against right-hander Sandy Rosario.

The Giants added to their lead in the second inning when Scutaro doubled to left field with two outs and, after a wild pitch, scored on a single by Crawford.

Scutaro, who had been 0-for-9 batting leadoff on Monday and Tuesday before getting Wednesday off, and Crawford each had three of the Giants' 10 hits.

Hand settled down after the four early runs, pitching a scoreless third through fifth innings. He was lifted at that point, having allowed seven hits and four walks. He struck out four.

The Giants out-hit the Brewers 10-3.

NOTES: The Giants' last home run at AT&T Park before Belt's first-inning shot was hit by C Buster Posey on July 20 against Arizona. The 101-inning drought was the fourth longest in the club's West Coast history. ... Giants RF Hunter Pence was caught stealing on an aborted hit-and-run play in the first inning, ending a 17-for-17 streak, which was the longest season-opening run since RF Bobby Bonds began the 1970 season 18-for-18. ... The Brewers are expected to activate 3B Aramis Ramirez from the disabled list for Friday's start of a three-game series in Seattle. Ramirez, out since July 8 with a sore left knee, is likely to serve as Milwaukee's designated hitter in the American League park. ... Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks, who strained his left hamstring late in Wednesday's win over the Giants, returned to Milwaukee to be examined by team physician William Raasch. Weeks likely is headed to the disabled list. ... RHP Ryan Vogelsong is scheduled to start the Giants' series opener at home against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night. It will be the right-hander's first major-league appearance since breaking bones in and below his right pinkie finger on May 20 against Washington. ... The Giants made a change in backup catchers before Thursday's game, promoting Hector Sanchez from Triple-A Fresno and designating Guillermo Quiroz for assignment.
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