"I saw the ball hit the wall and get away from [Pierre] and I said, 'This is my only chance of the year. Go for it.'"Molina added a leadoff homer in the seventh, prompting dreams of the cycle.
"But I knew I was going to have only one more at-bat," he said. He made the most of that plate appearance, rapping a ninth-inning RBI single.Renteria went 4-for-5 with a pair of two-out, run-scoring hits -- a single in the second inning and a double in the sixth. The 33-year-old shortstop has reached base safely in his last 11 games to hike his batting average from .138 to .275. "He has really picked it up. That's what you want your veterans to do," Bochy said. "Especially when you're sputtering a little bit, you hope that somebody ignites them and keeps the line moving." Or, in the case of the Giants' starting pitchers, hold the line. Lincecum's effort improved the Giants to 8-3 when they receive a quality start (an outing of at least six innings in which a pitcher yields three or fewer earned runs). The outset of Lincecum's effort was unlike most others. He needed only five pitches to complete a perfect first inning, though each out was a hard-hit ball that required deft fielding plays.
"I felt like I had good stuff and guys just put good contact on balls," Lincecum said. "Whether they get spread out over nine innings or three outs in a row, that's going to happen."Then Lincecum opened the second inning by striking out Andre Ethier, who entered the game hitting .353 this season against San Francisco. From the Giants' perspective, equilibrium was restored. Lincecum's growing momentum energized the fans, which he noticed.
"They're really feeling the game," he said. "You hear the roar of the crowd every other inning or so. You can tell they want it and we want it."The Giants have five more months to prove how badly they want it.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.