Lincecum again stopper for Giants

Lincecum again stopper for Giants

WASHINGTON -- Tim Lincecum is growing into the type of stopper that managers dream about.

The Giants right-hander has played a major role in helping the Giants start better than many expected in 2008. Lincecum constantly prevents his team from slipping into long losing streaks by pitching well and giving the Giants a chance to win, something he did again in Friday's 10-1 rout of Washington before 25,987 at Nationals Park.

That win stopped a two-game Giants losing streak. It's the third time that Lincecum (8-1) has ended a two-game losing skid. He's also stopped losing streaks of three, five and six games.

Lincecum allowed just one run on five hits in seven innings, striking out five and walking none. He now has a 6-0 record when starting after losses. In fact, the Giants have won all eight games that he's started after losses. This was his 12th quality start, a Major League-high this season.

"What a year he's having," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "He pitched another great ballgame tonight for us. He throws hard with a good curveball, slider and a good changeup, and on top of that is what a good competitor he is."

Lincecum said he wanted to keep things simple on a warm, humid evening. The temperature was 82 degrees at game time, but the humidity made for a very muggy night and was a big reason the right-hander didn't want to waste pitches.

He needed only 83 pitches -- 55 of which were strikes -- to get through his seven-inning stint as the Nationals couldn't do much.

"I was just trying to stay around the zone and try to make them make contact, and that's kind of the way it worked out," Lincecum said. "That was probably my lowest pitch count in a long time."

The low pitch count seemed like it would give Lincecum a shot at trying for a complete game, but Bochy said the right-hander had done enough after seven innings -- especially since the team had a 9-1 lead at the time.

Lincecum said he understood the move.

"I've got to get ready for my next start in Colorado," Lincecum said. "We had a good cushion to work with. The guys behind me did fine, so [there was] nothing to worry about."

The Giants gave Lincecum that big cushion early. John Bowker's RBI single gave them a 1-0 lead in the second inning, before they added seven more runs on six hits in the third.

Ray Durham -- whom Bochy didn't have in his original lineup due to concerns about the calf injury that limited him to pinch-hitting duty Wednesday -- lined an RBI single to right to give the Giants a 2-0 lead. Later, Lincecum drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk, taking a very close 3-2 pitch from Washington starter Jason Bergmann.

"That walk kept the rally going," Bochy said.

Fred Lewis then lined a two-run single to right for a 5-0 lead. The Nationals momentarily appeared to be out of the inning when Jose Castillo hit a foul popup near the stands just past the Washington dugout on the first-base side.

But first baseman Aaron Boone dropped it, and Castillo then lined the next pitch for a three-run homer to give the Giants an 8-0 lead. The seven-run inning is a season high for the Giants, who've outscored opponents, 43-29, in the third this season.

Omar Vizquel's sacrifice fly in the seventh and Bengie Molina's RBI single in the eighth gave the Giants their final two runs. The only Washington run came when Elijah Dukes lined an RBI double to left off Lincecum in the sixth.

But there was a moment when many Nationals fans cheered for the Giants despite the score. That came when Washington native Emmanuel Burriss became the first person from the D.C. public school system to play in the Major Leagues since 1970.

A large contingent of Burriss fans whooped and hollered when he entered the game as a defensive replacement for shortstop Vizquel in the eighth. They screamed even louder when Burriss came up with two outs in the ninth.

Burriss delighted once again by softly lining a single to left-center field. The Nationals gave him the ball, and Burriss couldn't stop smiling after the game.

"It was incredible," Burriss said. "Being here in the city that I played Little League in, it just means so much to be [here] at the highest level."

The only negative in the game came when center fielder Aaron Rowand left after the sixth due to a tight right quadriceps. He's listed as day-to-day.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.