Lincecum takes step back in first home start

Lincecum takes step back in first home start

ANAHEIM -- Everything appeared to have lined up well for Angels right-hander Tim Lincecum in his home debut at Angel Stadium.

He had time to work out some of the kinks from his promising Angels debut, was facing the same opponent he beat six days prior and was set to make his debut in a ballpark that suited his fly-ball tendencies.

Nothing wound up going right for Lincecum on Thursday night, however, as he was pulled after three innings in an eventual 5-4 loss to the Oakland A's.

For one, Lincecum's mechanics remained shaky. He said they were an issue after his first start this season, when he gave up a run on four hits in six innings for a win in Oakland on Saturday, but the sloppiness escalated on Thursday.

"That was a big issue tonight," Lincecum said. "My shoulders were going horizontally toward home plate, left and right, with not a lot of depth on my pitches. I also got one-dimensional with my pitches, basically just throwing fastball and changeup."

After retiring the first two batters of the game, Lincecum got into back-to-back three-ball counts against Stephen Vogt and Danny Valencia and surrendered a single and a walk. He went to another three-ball count to the next batter, Khris Davis, before getting him to strike out on a changeup to leave the inning scoreless.

He couldn't avoid it again in the second inning. A couple of weak singles dribbled through before Lincecum hung an 82-mph changeup over the heart of the plate to Marcus Semien, who knocked it over the wall for a three-run homer. Including the blast, six of the first seven Oakland hitters reached safely to open the four-run frame. He finished his night having allowed four runs on seven hits while throwing 83 pitches in three innings.

"[Lincecum] probably hung some balls today," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "We're a little bit more aware of what he was going to try to do today. For the most part, he was really successful with it last time. If it ain't broke don't fix it, and it was our turn to make some adjustments. I think we did that early in the game."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia thought Lincecum pitched a little better than his line indicated.

"You look at nine baserunners in three innings and it looks ugly," Scioscia said. "I don't know if it was quite that bad, but there's no doubt that Tim wasn't quite as sharp. He had to work for every strike, and 83 pitches in three innings, that's a lot."

While Lincecum is still working his way back to adjusting to Major League batters, he said he expects more.

"I just expect myself to be a little bit better of a competitor than that and go a little bit deeper in the game and give my team a better chance to win," he said.

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.