Programming note: Braves-Giants coverage starts Sunday at 12:30 p.m. with Giants Pregame Live on CSN Bay Area.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum felt he got a little "soft-crazy" with his pitch mix on Saturday night. The result? The Braves hit him hard.
Lincecum spent most his night pitching out of the stretch and didn't make it through the fifth as the Giants lost 8-0 in a rare lackluster May game. The Braves put eight hits and four runs on Lincecum's line, equaling the number of runs he allowed in his first five home starts this season.
"Those guys put good swings on good pitches, and at that point you have to tip your cap," Lincecum said. "They had me working out of the stretch a lot and took extra bases. They were putting pretty good swings on some pretty good pitches, I thought. I was constantly put in the pressure cooker and I had to find a way to respond."
Lincecum felt that instead he may have dug a deeper hole. He said he needed to mix and match his fastball in more effectively and lamented the fact that he got beat on so many off-speed pitches. The night snapped Lincecum's steak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings at home, but even if he had pitched better, the Giants would have been in for a tough one. Williams Perez, making just his third big-league start, had the league's hottest lineup off balance all night long.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Braves get to Lincecum, end Giants' streak]
"He's got a moving fastball and a slurve-type breaking ball," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He comes from an angle and changes speeds well. He pitched well. He pitched in and out and was hitting his spots. We didn't have a lot on him except what we saw on video and reports, but he had a good moving fastball."
Even the video couldn't fully prepare the Giants for Perez. Brandon Crawford came up with runners on the corners in the sixth inning of what was then a 4-0 game and struck out on a nasty outside pitch that didn't show up during any of the Giants' research on Perez. Crawford thought it was a splitter. Perez relied heavily on a running sinker that he was able to throw to both sides of the plate, and also got curveball-heavy to some Giants.
"It's tough when you've never seen a guy before and he's got good movement on the ball," Crawford said. "You don't really know what to expect."
This was a rare clunker for the Giants and it moved them out of first place after just one night atop the division.
"That's part of the game," Lincecum said. "You're going to run into those. It's about how you respond."
--- Joe Panik has hit safely in 13 straight games at AT&T Park, which isn't all that surprising given how well his swing fits the gaps here. He's hitting .306 during the stretch.
--- Bochy came out to argue a late call that went against the Giants, but not because he thought Jace Peterson was off the bag as part of the "neighborhood play." That particular play isn't able to be challenged because MLB wants to protect middle infielders from collisions, but Bochy was hoping to argue that maybe Andrelton Simmons' throw took Peterson off the bag, which would be a different situation. Either way, it didn't work.
--- Hunter Pence using "The Circle of Life" from The Lion King as his new walk-up song may move him a notch past Crawford, who has been using "Tuesday" on Tuesdays. Strong choice, Hunter. You move, Brandon.
--- Kevin Correia was released two days before his opt-out date. He had been pitching pretty well in Sacramento, so you figure he'll get a look somewhere given the starting situations around the league. Of course, I said the same thing about Erik Cordier and he's still a River Cat. So maybe just ignore all my scouting tips.
--- Jean Machi gave up four runs in two innings and now has a 5.76 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. At some point the Giants will have to get rid of a reliever, and while Machi is out of options and they hate losing inventory, it'll be pretty hard to send Hunter Strickland back down if he keeps pitching like this. George Kontos, like Machi, came into the year without options and has had the much better season. Just something to file away.