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Lincecum Gets The Best Of Mets

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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 31: Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at AT&T Park on July 31, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JULY 31: Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at AT&T Park on July 31, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

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By ANTONIO GONZALEZ
AP Sports Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Tim Lincecum struck out seven in seven
innings and the San Francisco Giants took advantage of a two-run
error by shortstop Ruben Tejada to beat the New York Mets 4-1 on
Tuesday night and snap a season-long five-game losing streak.

Tejada’s throw to first on the back-end of a potential
double-play ball by Brandon Crawford in the second inning sailed
into New York’s dugout fence. The error handed Matt Harvey (1-1) a
hard-luck loss and lifted San Francisco’s spirits even more on a
day the franchise acquired two-time All-Star right fielder Hunter
Pence from Philadelphia.

Justin Turner’s RBI double in the second was all the Mets
managed off Lincecum (5-11). The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner
allowed six hits and one walk in another step toward turning around
the worst season of his career.

Jeremy Affeldt pitched two scoreless innings for his second save
in three chances this season.

After almost a week of bad news, San Francisco’s fortunes
started to change.

The Giants had not won since slugger Pablo Sandoval strained his
left hamstring last week. That landed the All-Star third baseman on
the 15-day disabled list while the rival Los Angeles Dodgers _ who
traded for Shane Victorino from the Phillies and Hanley Ramirez
from the Marlins _ turned the NL West race into a virtual tie.

The Giants sent Nate Schierholtz and two minor leaguers to
Philadelphia for Pence just before the afternoon trade deadline.
The Phillies were in Washington, and Pence couldn’t to make it to
San Francisco in time to be in the lineup.

No need on this night.

Turner doubled off the wall in left to drive home Scott Hairston
and give the Mets a 2-1 lead in the second inning. Hairston, whose
two home runs powered the Mets past San Francisco 8-7 in 10 innings
on Monday night, singled with one out to jumpstart the offense
again.

Defense failed New York this time.

After Justin Christian grounded into a force at home plate with
the bases loaded and no outs in the second, Brandon Belt grounded
into what appeared to be a routine double play. Instead, Tejada’s
throw overshot first baseman Ike Davis for an error that put San
Francisco ahead 2-1.

The Giants loaded the bases again in the sixth and Harvey
squeezed out of the jam in similar fashion. Marco Scutaro grounded
into a double play to score Ryan Theriot and added a two-out RBI
single in the eighth to extend San Francisco’s lead to 4-1.

Lincecum, the shaggy-haired right-hander, rallied from a
bases-loaded jam in the seventh. He got Josh Thole to line out to
second and struck out pinch-hitter David Wright on a wicked
curveball that dropped near his knees and froze the All-Star third
baseman in the batter’s box.

The Giants improved to 7-15 when Lincecum starts. While his
miserable summer might not be over, he has showed improvement of
late: Lincecum has lasted at least seven innings in three of his
four starts since the All-Star break and San Francisco is 3-1 in
that stretch.

Harvey gave up four hits, three walks and three runs _ two
earned _ in six innings. He struck out seven, and his 18 strikeouts
are the most by any Mets pitcher in his first two career starts.
Four others in franchise history had struck out 14.

A few regulars were missing on both sides.

Mets outfielders Jason Bay (stiff left calf) and Andres Torres
(strained right thumb) sat out with injuries and third baseman
Wright was initially given the night off. Bay pinch-hit in the
ninth and grounded out to end the game.

Giants center fielder Angel Pagan sat out with a bruised left
hand.

Notes: Mets GM Sandy Alderson decided not to part ways with
Hairston or any other players before Tuesday afternoon’s trade
deadline. “We haven’t given up on the season,” Alderson said.
“We didn’t move players off the team for a reason. We think we
have lots of good baseball in front of us, and Scott can be part of
that.” … Mets closer Frank Francisco (strained left side) struck
out all three batters he faced during a rehab assignment for
Double-A Binghamton. … The Giants recalled INF Brett Pill from
Triple-A Fresno to replace Schierholtz on the roster. Aubrey Huff
is expected to go on the DL when Pence arrives. Huff injured his
right knee running to first Monday night. Pence arrived at the
ballpark right after the game ended.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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