Giants' Lincecum grinds out win over Phillies in Game 1 of NLCS

Tim Lincecum and catcher Buster Posey confer about pitchingto Ryan Howard with two runners on with two outs in the third inning. Lincecum struck out Howard on a curveball.
Tim Lincecum and catcher Buster Posey confer about pitchingto Ryan Howard with two runners on with two outs in the third inning. Lincecum struck out Howard on a curveball.
Posted: October 17, 2010

Tim Lincecum wasn't dominant. He wasn't dazzling.

He was dogged and determined.

He also was victorious.

"Gutty effort," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said of the work of his ace righthander in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel saw the same thing.

"He hung in there and he battled and he pitched pretty good," Manuel said.

Lincecum pitched well enough to get the win in San Francisco's 4-3 victory. He went seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.

It was a grind-it-out game, not a masterpiece.

"Timmy threw outstanding," San Francisco rightfielder Cody Ross said.

Lincecum wasn't nearly as dominant as he was in his Oct. 7 outing against Atlanta, when he pitched a two-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts in the first game of the division series.

But neither starting pitcher was able to match his previous performance.

Lincecum's job wasn't to top himself from Oct. 7. It was to outpitch Phillies ace Roy Halladay, who had thrown a no-hitter in his last outing.

From that standpoint, Lincecum was successful. He left the game with a 4-3 lead, and the Giants' bullpen closed out the victory.

"He got in some jams, but he made pitches when he had to," Bochy said. "That's a tough lineup. There's no relief in that lineup.

"He had to work hard. That's why he was done after seven. It was a great effort by him."

Bochy visited the mound to talk with Lincecum in the third inning. The Phillies had just tied the score, 1-1, on a home run by Carlos Ruiz. Placido Polanco hit a double and Chase Utley walked to put runners on first and second with two outs.

Phillies cleanup hitter Ryan Howard was coming to the plate, and the Citizens Bank Park crowd was in full roar, with thousands of white rally towels swirling in the air.

"I could see he was a little frustrated," Bochy said. "I just wanted him to calm down. He was so hyped up for this big game. I wanted to make sure he kept his poise and he came back and made some good pitches against Howard."

Lincecum struck out Howard on a nasty curveball.

He had a 4-1 lead when he took the mound for the bottom of the sixth. But the Phillies cut the lead to 4-3 as Utley singled and Jayson Werth hit a two-run homer to right-center - the second opposite-field homer off Lincecum.

Once again, Lincecum looked to be in trouble. Once again, he worked himself out of it.

He struck out Jimmy Rollins and Ruiz to close the sixth. He struck out Shane Victorino in a 1-2-3 seventh.

"Tim pitched a hell of a game," San Francisco leftfielder Pat Burrell said.


Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223 or panastasia@phillynews.com.

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