Lincecum near milestone strikeout

Lincecum near milestone strikeout

SAN FRANCISCO -- Any time Tim Lincecum takes the mound, he's the story.

In his third season in the big leagues, he's won 29 of 40 decisions and struck out 499 batters.

While Lincecum and most other pitchers would tell you they don't care about the strikeouts, the whiff is no doubt a part of his success. He has 84 in 65 1/3 innings pitched so far this season, which is good for third-best in the National League after Sunday's games.

When the right-hander starts the Giants' first of 10 road games opposing the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, he will likely secure more than No. 500. The Nationals lineup has one big hitter prone to the "K."

Lincecum's mano-a-mano matchup with Adam Dunn has been one-sided to date. Lincecum struck Dunn out four times in his eight career at-bats. Furthermore, Dunn been retired on strikes 55 times in his 178 at-bats this season, though the slugger also has 16 home runs.

When the Giants resume play back east after an off-day Monday, they'll need to hit as well. Even Lincecum needs some offensive support.

The Giants have batted .274 at AT&T Park this season, 40 points higher than away from San Francisco.

"I've been very encouraged with the way we've been swinging the bats here at home," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We need to carry that into the road trip."

Pitching matchup
SF: RHP Tim Lincecum (4-1, 3.03 ERA)
Lincecum pitched like the ace he is Tuesday, throwing eight scoreless innings against the Atlanta Braves. He allowed just five hits while striking out eight. The diminutive right-hander has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts this season. He is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA all-time vs. the Washington Nationals.

WSH: RHP Craig Stammen (0-1, 5.56 ERA)
Stammen, making his second career start, lasted five innings and gave up three runs on seven hits his last time out. It was in the second inning when, with two outs, Ramon Martinez doubled to right to score Omir Santos for the first run. The Mets added two more runs in the next inning. Fernando Tatis and Fernando Martinez drove in a run with a hit and groundout, respectively. Stammen said his pitching mechanics were off and he had problems throwing his sinker for strikes.

Tidbits
Prior to Sunday's game, Lincecum, Travis Ishikawa and third-base coach Tim Flannery spoke to a congregation of Little Leaguers. ... The Giants will visit the White House during their visit to the nation's capitol. ... Giants broadcaster Dave Flemming celebrated his 33rd birthday Sunday at the ballpark. ... The Giants are now on Twitter, posting lineups and news at www.twitter.com/GiantsInsider.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• CSN-BA

On radio
• KNBR 680

Up next
• Wednesday: Giants (Randy Johnson, 4-4, 5.71) at Nationals (Jordan Zimmermann, 2-2, 6.07), 4:05 p.m. PT
• Thursday: Giants (Matt Cain, 6-1, 2.31) at Nationals (Ross Detwiler, 0-1, 4.80), 4:05 p.m. PT
• Friday: Giants (Barry Zito, 1-6, 4.02) at Marlins (TBD), 4:10 p.m. PT

Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.