SAN FRANCISCO – Let’s put a positive shine on this, shall we?
Sure, Tim Lincecum got pounded for nine hits in his first outing since his historic, euphoric no-hitter in San Diego. But hey, the Reds’ Homer Bailey gave up 10 in his first start after his no-no against the Giants.
No? Well, OK. It was worth a try.
There was nothing to like about Lincecum in Monday night’s 11-0 loss to the Reds at AT&T Park. His pitches didn’t fool anyone as Cincinnati’s talented lineup pounded him for three home runs, rolled up eight runs against him and chased him in the fourth inning.
No, Lincecum didn’t ice his arm after throwing 148 pitches July 13 at San Diego – the most by a Giant since Vida Blue in 1979.
Yes, the dots will be too easy to connect after the Giants' worst margin of defeat this season.
Bronson Arroyo pitched a seven-hit shutout, the sixth of his career. And Derrick Robinson proving yes, a center fielder can earn a save.
Robinson made a leaping catch at the wall to rob Jeff Francoeur of his first home run as a Giant. The ball came out of Robinson’s glove as he brought it back from over the wall, but he snatched it out of the air as the Reds rushed onto the field for a celebratory handshake line.
Starting pitching report
Lincecum was a pitch away from escaping a scoreless first inning and setting off what would’ve been a thunderous ovation. But his 1-0 pitch to Todd Frazier was a fastball at the belt that resulted in a bases-clearing double.
Prior to that, Lincecum nearly slipped the cuffs after Shin-Soo Choo doubled off the glove of a diving Gregor Blanco in left field and Derrick Robinson beat out a bunt single. Lincecum struck out Joey Votto and then showed off his athleticism after fielding Brandon Phillips’ nubber to the mound. Lincecum picked up the ball, froze Choo halfway between third and home, then won a footrace with the Reds’ leadoff hitter as he applied a tag.
But Jay Bruce walked to load the bases, and Frazier unloaded them. Center fielder Andres Torres raced straight back but was unable to get a glove on the ball before it bounced on the warning track.
And it was as if all the good vibes from the no-hitter went flat. Devin Mesoraco and Choo pounded home runs on fastballs that arrived at 87 and 89 mph, respectively, in the second inning.
And Jay Bruce hit an absolute meatball of a high, hanging changeup for a solo shot into the arcade in the third.
Lincecum got 28 swings and misses against the Padres in his no-hitter. He had six against the Reds.
He exited after allowing a pair of two-out singles in the fourth, having thrown 78 pitches.
With a doubleheader looming on Tuesday, and two uncertain left-handers in Eric Surkamp and Barry Zito, the Giants already were worried about their supply of relief innings.
Then they had to chew through 5 1/3 innings after Lincecum couldn’t make it out of the fourth.
George Kontos cashed in one of Lincecum’s runs when Phillips greeted him with a double into the right field corner, and Brandon Belt cashed in the other when he let Hunter Pence’s throw glance off his glove for an error.
Kontos gave up three runs of his own while throwing 63 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. In fact, the Reds scored in each of the first seven innings before Jake Dunning pitched a tidy eighth on 12 pitches. Jean Machi used 10 in the ninth.
At the plate
Arroyo took the mound at AT&T Park for the first time since Game 2 of the NL Division Series last October, when he held them to just one hit -- a Brandon Belt single -- in seven shutout innings.
He was nearly as effective this time while winning for the first time in seven regular-season starts here. (This might be hard to believe, as well as he always seems to pitch against the Giants, but the Reds had been winless in his six previous outings at AT&T Park.)
Even if Bruce Bochy remembered that the Giants overcame a 10-1 deficit against the Reds here in 2010, he wasn’t going to choose hope over pragmatism. Not with a doubleheader looming. He pulled Buster Posey after four innings.
Lincecum might have used up his outfield defense mojo in the no-hitter with Pence’s diving catch. Blanco just missed grabbing Choo’s double to start the game, and Torres couldn’t catch up to Frazier’s back-breaking hit.
The Giants announced 41,797 paid. And the loudest cheer came in pregame introductions for Lincecum.
Let’s play two! It’s a single-admission doubleheader on Tuesday as the Giants and Reds make up the July 4 rainout in Cincinnati. Left-hander Eric Surkamp (2013 debut) will start Game 1 against left-hander Tony Cingrani (3-1, 3.23 ERA). First pitch is at 4:05 p.m. Left-hander Barry Zito (4-7, 4.88) will start Game 2 against right-hander Greg Reynolds (2013 debut). First pitch will be thrown 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, no earlier than 7:15 p.m. And yes, the Giants will act as the road team in Game 2.
In-Line photos provided by USA TODAY IMAGES.