SAN FRANCISCO -– The Giants trailed in all three games of their series against the New York Mets. But as it turned out, scouting director John Barr wasn’t the only one drafting to win over the weekend.
After a rough first inning Sunday afternoon, Tim Lincecum settled into a groove and a lineup missing a couple regulars still didn’t miss a dance step. Gregor Blanco hit a two-run double in the second inning and an RBI single in the seventh as the Giants took a 6-4 victory to sweep a three-game series at AT&T Park.
The Giants recovered from Curtis Granderson’s two-run home run in the first inning to record their major league-leading 18th come-from-behind victory of the season –- including all three of their wins in this series. They’re 42-21 and matched the 1962 pennant-winning club for the franchise’s best record through 63 games in the San Francisco era.
They also swept the Mets at home for the first time since 2002.
Starting pitching report
Lincecum met the minimum standards for a quality start (six innings, three runs), which you couldn’t have predicted five minutes into the game.
It was an unsightly first inning. Matt den Dekker drew a leadoff walk and stole second base, but the Giants caught him running to third on first motion and Lincecum picked him off. Daniel Murphy singled and Granderson found the center field bleachers when he swung at a 3-0 fastball down the middle.
Coming off a messy start in Cincinnati, it looked like Lincecum would be in for a long day –- or a short one, depending on how you define it. But he made that all-important mid-game adjustment and didn’t allow another runner into scoring position until the fifth inning.
That’s when Lincecum (5-4) did his best work of the afternoon. With a runner on third and one out, he struck out pinch hitter Bobby Abreu on a fading changeup, then got den Dekker to wave through a nasty, sinking two-seam fastball to end the inning.
Lincecum became a strike thrower with the lead, which is exactly what he needed to be. But Granderson took advantage once more when he crushed an 0-2 curve into the McCovey Cove.
And no, it’s not that easy to hit the bleachers and the water in the same game here.
Juan Gutierrez made it 14 appearances (and 12.2 innings) without a run as a Giant at AT&T Park when he struck out two in the seventh. But it wasn’t so tidy for Jeremy Affeldt in the eighth.
Pitching with a 5-3 lead, Affeldt gave up a two-run single to Murphy and then Granderson found the smallest seam in the middle infield when a shift backfired for a ground ball double. With runners at second and third, Jean Machi threw a wild pitch that scored a run before he got Chris Young to fly out.
Javier Lopez, who aleady had warmed up before the Giants tacked on a run in the eighth, started the ninth as Giants manager Bruce Bochy played matchups against home run threat Lucas Duda. Lopez punched his glove after walking Duda on a 3-2 pitch, and Sergio Romo (seen, right) had to enter with the tying run at the plate.
That wasn’t an issue.
Romo dominated three hitters, striking out two, to record his major league leading 20th save in 22 chances.
At the plate
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This time, the Giants didn’t wait for the tension of the ninth inning to make their comeback. They struck fast against former top prospect Zack Wheeler in the second inning, collecting three consecutive singles. Brandon Crawford followed Hector Sanchez and Tyler Colvin and collected his 32nd RBI, second to Michael Morse on the club.
Brandon Hicks and Lincecum struck out and Blanco appeared to catch a bad break when first base umpire Pat Hoberg ruled his line drive over the bag to be foul –- a non-reviewable call.
But even when it appears Mr. Met gets sprinkled with good fortune, it turns out to be a seagull using his massive head as target practice.
Blanco followed up with a double into the right field corner on a fat 1-2 pitch from Wheeler, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs. The Mets managed to execute a relay to cut down Blanco as he pushed for a triple.
The Giants made it 4-2 with a run in the third. Pence got plunked in the kidney but shook it off and managed to sprint from first to third on Pablo Sandoval’s single. Morse’s double-play grounder plated Pence. They scored again in the seventh when Ehire Adrianza blooped a pinch single, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Blanco’s single up the middle.
Hicks came through with a two-out, RBI single in the eighth, providing a bit more insurance.
Morse didn’t conjure memories of Keith Hernandez at first base, but he managed to make a clean stop of Lucas Duda’s hard ground ball to his right and threw on target to start a 3-6-1 double play to end the fourth inning.
The Giants announced 41,911 paid, not counting the kayaker who nearly got zonked on the melon by Granderson’s water shot.
The Giants begin a four-game series with the Washington Nationals on Monday at AT&T Park. Ryan Vogelsong (4-2, 3.39 ERA) takes the mound against Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (5-4, 3.10) in the opener with a scheduled first pitch at 7:15 p.m. PDT. It’ll be Madison Bumgarner (8-3, 2.68) vs. right-hander Doug Fister (4-1, 3.19) on Tuesday, Matt Cain (1-3, 3.52) vs. right-hander Tanner Roark (4-4, 2.91) on Wednesday and Tim Hudson (6-2, 1.97) vs. right-hander Blake Treinen (0-2, 1.78) on Thursday.
Photo of Sergio Romo courtesy of AP.