Lincecum confirmed as starter after final spring outing

Maxwell earns roster spot following three-hit, three-RBI game

Lincecum confirmed as starter after final spring outing

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Tim Lincecum officially claimed a spot in the Giants' starting rotation Tuesday by working a spring-high 5 2/3 innings as the Giants squeezed past the Colorado Rockies, 4-3.

Lincecum left the game with the Giants trailing, 3-2, but they rallied for a pair of eighth-inning runs on RBI singles by Justin Maxwell and Matt Duffy. Maxwell clinched a spot on the Opening Night roster by going 3-for-3 and driving in three runs.

Maxwell's RBI single

Giants manager Bruce Bochy also removed all doubt about the status of Lincecum, the two-time Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star who was removed from the rotation last August and made just one postseason appearance. Throughout the offseason, Bochy and Giants management repeated that Lincecum would be given a chance to reclaim his starting role.

"We haven't set it yet. But he's going to be in our rotation," Bochy said.

Lincecum, who spoke to reporters before Bochy did, sounded as if he fully expected his reinstatement to the rotation.

"Coming in here [to camp], I think that's where they expected me to be," he said.

Lincecum ended his outing by striking out Charlie Blackmon and Troy Tulowitzki with runners on second and third. Lincecum, who retired Blackmon on a high fastball and Tulowitzki on a changeup, acknowledged that he was seeking the strikeout in that situation.

Lincecum faltered only when Nolan Arenado hit a three-run, fifth-inning homer. Some observers believed that Arenado's round-tripper was a Cactus League special that sliced easily through the thin, hot air. But Lincecum called it a legitimate drive: "It looked like a pop fly, but I think he touched it pretty good."

Rockies manager Walt Weiss also vouched for Arenado's power. He has five Cactus League home runs and a .643 slugging percentage.

"He makes consistent hard contact, and for a guy that has big-time extra-base potential, he doesn't strike out," Weiss said.

Arenado's homer erased the 2-0 lead the Giants built against Colorado starter Tyler Matzek, who lasted four innings and is expected to start Colorado's home opener.

"I made a few mistakes with the slider, but that's a day-to-day kind of thing," Matzek said. "I don't feel it's a tendency or anything. The changeup is pretty good, the fastball I was able to move it around in the zone and the curveball was where it always is."

Rockies reliever Chad Bettis also worked four innings but couldn't hold the lead. He walked Posey and McGehee before Maxwell, who hit an RBI single in the second inning and a sacrifice fly in the fourth, tied the score with his final hit. Maxwell hiked his RBI total to a team-high 14.

Maxwell's game-tying single

Duffy, named the Barney Nugent Award winner for being the top performer attending his first big league camp, followed with a grounder off second baseman Daniel Descalso's glove that scored McGehee.

Duffy's go-ahead single

Giants Up Next: San Francisco breaks camp Wednesday with a confrontation against the Cleveland Indians in Scottsdale beginning at 1:05 p.m. PT. Players sometimes find it difficult to concentrate on days such as this. But with Opening Night starter Madison Bumgarner opposing Cleveland's Corey Kluber, last year's American League Cy Young Award winner, hitters from both teams can be expected to look alive in the batter's box.

Chris Haft is a reporter for 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.