Lincecum strikes out 6 in 3 innings with Giants, Braves tied at 0-0 in NLDS opener

By Josh Dubow, AP
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Braves, Giants tied at 0-0 after 3 innings

SAN FRANCISCO — Tim Lincecum struck out six batters in the first three innings of his postseason debut and the San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves were tied 0-0 after three innings of their NL division series opener Thursday night.

Lincecum, the two-time NL Cy Young winner, looked sharp early, especially with his offspeed pitches. He struck out five straight hitters at one point and got the Braves to swing and miss at 13 of his 41 pitches in the first three innings.

His performance delighted the orange towel-waving sellout crowd that has been waiting seven years for the Giants to get back in the playoffs. They clinched the NL West by beating San Diego at home on the final day of the season and the party continued for the series opener against the wild-card Braves.

Atlanta was also back in the postseason after a break, having last been here in 2005. The Braves also clinched their berth on the final day of the season, extending manager Bobby Cox’s career before he retires at the end of the season.

Both teams put the leadoff man on in the first inning but were unable to score. Omar Infante was stranded after doubling to leadoff the game as Lincecum struck out Derrek Lee and Brian McCann to end the inning.

Lincecum followed that up by getting Alex Gonzalez, Matt Diaz and Brooks Conrad to strike out swinging in the second inning with all nine strikes coming on swings and misses.

Andres Torres singled to lead off the bottom half of the first off Derek Lowe for the Giants but was quickly erased when Freddy Sanchez hit into a 4-6-3 double play. That’s a problem that has plagued the Giants all season as they led the NL by hitting into 158 double plays.

The Giants were unable to take advantage of an error by second baseman Brooks Conrad in the third inning. Conrad mishandled Torres’ grounder to put runners on first and third with one out. But Lowe got Sanchez to hit a comebacker that got Cody Ross caught in a rundown between third and home and struck out Aubrey Huff with runners on second and third to end the threat.

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