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Giants pitchers being stingy with free passes

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The primary sources of the Giants' vastly improved control are as plain as the ink on a statistics sheet.

San Francisco's pitchers entered Wednesday with a National League-low 26 walks, or 1.9 per game. That average contrasted sharply with the rate of 3.2 they maintained last year, when they finished with 521 walks, the league's fourth-highest figure.

Starters Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum are directly responsible for the turnaround. Hudson has established a franchise record by pitching 23 season-opening innings without issuing a walk. Lincecum, whose average of walks per nine innings ranged from 3.2 to 4.4 in the previous four seasons, has issued one free pass in 15 innings.

Nobody else has been scatter-armed, either. Right-hander Sergio Romo attributed the Giants' accuracy to following the game's basics.

"It's less an emphasis on not walking guys and more on making quality pitches," Romo said. "We're not crafty. What you see is what you get. We don't have time to beat around the bush."

The change in Lincecum reflects his increasing reliance on precision instead of power -- though, with 17 strikeouts, he still averages more than one per inning.

"He's not a thrower anymore," Romo said. "He's a guy who goes out there and pitches."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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