SAN FRANCISCO — Casey McGehee was given his 2014 National League Comeback Player of the Year Award before the first pitch at AT&T Park on Friday night. It turned out to be a sign of things to come.
This night was all about the comebacks, a stunning one for McGehee and a continued one for right-hander Tim Lincecum.
McGehee bounced back from a three-day benching to hit a grand slam in the second inning of a 6-0 win over the Miami Marlins, his former team. Lincecum did the rest, turning back the clock with eight strikeouts in six shutout innings. The right-hander walked off the mound with a streak of 15 consecutive scoreless innings.
Lincecum saved his best pitches for the biggest moments. He got off to a strong start, retiring the side in the first and blowing an 88 mph fastball past Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton for the third out. After Marcell Ozuna doubled with one out in the fourth, Lincecum struck out J.T. Realmuto and Michael Morse.
The biggest showdown came in the fifth with the Giants leading 4-0. A single and two walks loaded the bases ahead of Stanton, the most powerful hitter in the game. Lincecum started him off with a curveball for a called strike and then got Stanton to swing over the top of two straight nasty changeups.
Lincecum remained a rock star in San Francisco even in the down times, but McGehee has heard scattered boos in recent home games due to his low average, league-leading double-play total and iffy defense. Many in the sellout crowd likely anticipated the worst when McGehee came up with the bases loaded and one out in the second, but he jumped on a grooved Jarred Cosart fastball and crushed a grand slam over the wall in left-center.
McGehee pumped his fist and yelled as he rounded first base. If you looked closely, you could see the monkey jumping off his back.
Starting pitching report: It appears Lincecum’s offseason work with his dad really paid off. His ERA though six starts in each of the last four seasons (he started struggling in 2012):
Bullpen report: Yusmeiro Petit finally got a chance to contribute to a victory. Petit took over for Lincecum and cruised through the 27th out, picking up his first career save.
At the plate:
There was a time in the third week of April when Brandon Belt’s average was about to dip below .070. After going 4-for-5 , Belt is hitting .308. He doubled in his first at-bat and has a two-bagger in six straight games, one shy of Jeff Kent’s franchise record.
In the field: Nori Aoki didn’t have the greatest defensive reputation when he came here, but he’s been strong in left for the Giants. Aoki got a great jump on Christian Yelich’s liner to left in the third inning Friday and made a nifty sliding catch.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,413, including one couple that came in “Sandoval” and “Zito” jerseys. To be fair, jerseys are ridiculously expensive these days.
Up next: It’ll be red-hot lefty Madison Bumgarner against right-hander David Phelps, who is 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA. Bumgarner is just 1-2 with a 4.34 ERA in five career starts against the Marlins.