D-backs unable to solve Lincecum

D-backs unable to solve Lincecum

PHOENIX -- Giants starter Tim Lincecum, the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, took the mound at Chase Field on Friday and pitched like the staff ace that he is.

Veteran left-hander Doug Davis took the hill for the D-backs and could not keep up.

Davis started strong, but could not hold down the Giants' offense late, leaving the 33-year-old on the short end of a 5-1 victory by San Francisco in the first game of the three-game series.

Davis (1-3), who has a record of 82-86 in 11 seasons, was charged with nine hits and five earned runs in six innings for the loss in his fourth start of the season. He allowed two home runs in the 114-pitch outing and did not make it out of the seventh.

Lincecum struck out 12 batters and allowed five hits in eight innings for the victory. He has 25 strikeouts and one walk in 16 innings against the Diamondbacks this season.

"The body felt good, but I don't think the command of the curveball was the way it was last time, but I don't think the line does the outing justice," Davis said. "At the same time, that's the way baseball goes. You are going to have those hiccups that you have to battle. The next time you go out there, you just forget about that."

Davis did not go down easily. He rarely does. Last year, he came back from thyroid cancer. The last time Davis took the mound, he faced the Giants and matched Lincecum pitch-for-pitch for eight innings in a 2-0 Diamondbacks win last Saturday.

But the past did not assist Davis on Friday. However, an instant replay call almost helped.

The Giants led, 1-0, in the bottom of the third inning when Diamondbacks left fielder Eric Byrnes hit a two-out delivery from Lincecum that appeared to hit the yellow padding that lines the wall in left field. Byrnes stopped at second base and Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin came on the field to discuss the play with the umpires.

"I thought it hit that pad, hit the pole behind it and came back," Melvin said. "I've seen that happen in batting practice, but I wasn't 100-percent sure, but you have to do the best you can and try to contest that. That's what the replay is for."

Umpires reviewed the play via instant replay and the initial call as a double stood. On the very next pitch, Byrnes attempted to advance to third when a pitch bounced away from Giants catcher Bengie Molina. Molina retrieved the ball and threw Byrnes out to end the inning.

"He thought he had enough room to get it," Melvin said. "You don't want to make the last out at third, that's for sure. Obviously, he thought he could get it."

Molina was not done. He led off the top of the fourth with a home run to push the Giants ahead, 2-0.

Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria hit a home run, his second of the season, in the first inning to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The home run came on Davis' 14th pitch of the game.

But Davis helped himself in the bottom of the fifth inning with am RBI single that scored Justin Upton to cut the lead to 2-1. Upton hit a one-out double and raced home when Davis laced a 94-mph fastball from Lincecum up the middle.

The left-hander retired the first two hitters of the sixth inning, but gave up three consecutive singles, the last of which was an RBI single by Rich Aurilia that scored Aaron Rowand to push the Giants ahead, 3-1.

Davis' effectiveness waned. Lincecum led off the top of the seventh and reached base on a strikeout/wild pitch. The next batter, Fred Lewis, lined a single to right field to send Melvin to the mound and Davis to the dugout.

"I thought he looked good, maybe not as sharp as we have seen him, but he got out of some jams and he went out there with 110 [pitches] or whatever it was," Melvin said. "Once he got the first couple of guys on, we needed to go to the bullpen, but I thought he threw well."

With Davis out of the game, Molina followed with a two-run double off Diamondbacks reliever Juan Gutierrez to extend the lead to 5-1.

The Diamondbacks had runners on second base and third base with one out in the first inning against Lincecum, but the right-hander struck out Mark Reynolds and Chad Tracy grounded out to end the scoring threat. In 13 career at-bats against Lincecum, Reynolds has struck out nine times.

"[Lincecum] has above-average everything," Davis said. "You just tip your hat to him. He outpitched me and that's the bottom line."

Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.