Friday, March 19, 2010
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[March 19, 2010]  SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum put the San Francisco coaching staff at ease early and slowed Colorado's late-season run.

Lincecum pitched seven strong innings after missing his previous start with back spasms, Eugenio Velez drove in four runs and the Giants gained on the NL wild card-leading Rockies with a 9-1 victory Monday night.

"It was fun to win a game like that," Lincecum said. "I was erratic at times but I was able to come back and make quality pitches."

Bengie Molina homered and Aaron Rowand drove in two runs for the Giants, who moved within 3 1/2 games of the Rockies in the wild-card race. Juan Uribe and Fred Lewis also drove in runs for San Francisco.

Lincecum threw 116 pitches and had only one clean inning. He stranded nine runners.

"As far as pitches, I saw everything," Rockies infielder Ian Stewart said. "That's probably the best I've seen him. He did a great job of just mixing everything up."


Carlos Gonzalez and Yorvit Torrealba each had two hits for the Rockies, who lost their third straight.

"We're still the team being chased right now," Stewart said. "We feel good where we're at. We just need Lincecum not to pitch."

Lincecum (14-5) gave up a run and six hits, lowering his NL-leading ERA to 2.30. He walked four and struck out 11 for a league-best 244. He's won his last six decisions at home and is 9-1 with a 1.79 ERA in San Francisco.

"I got a break for all the wrong reasons," Lincecum said. "It helped me take a step back and look at what I was doing and what I needed to be doing."

Jason Hammel (8-8) allowed four runs and seven hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out five. The Rockies have lost all four of his starts against the Giants this season despite his 3.52 ERA against them.

Molina, Uribe, Travis Ishikawa and Rowand each singled to open the second, with Rowand driving in two runs. Velez followed with a sacrifice fly.

"Lincecum is good. You spot him four runs and he's probably going to take it home," Hammel said. "As for the second, they hit them where we weren't basically. I have no other way of explaining it."

Cubs 2, Brewers 0

At Chicago, Ryan Dempster (10-8) pitched eight sharp innings, allowing four hits, and Derrek Lee homered for the seventh time in 10 games.

Center fielder Sam Fuld and third baseman Aramis Ramirez made outstanding plays to keep Milwaukee off the board and help the Cubs win for the sixth time in seven games.

Carlos Marmol worked a hitless ninth for his 13th save.

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Dodgers 6, Pirates 2

At Los Angeles, Andre Ethier hit a tiebreaking homer, Manny Ramirez had an early RBI double for the Dodgers.

Jon Garland (10-11) persevered through six rocky innings to remain unbeaten since joining Los Angeles last month.

Cardinals 11, Marlins 6

At St. Louis, Matt Holliday drove in three runs to top 100 RBIs for the third time in his career and the Cardinals' bullpen rescued struggling Todd Wellemeyer.

Holliday and Ryan Ludwick had two-run singles off Ricky Nolasco (11-9) in a four-run first. Holliday added an RBI double in a four-run eighth capped by Colby Rasmus' three-run homer.

Blake Hawksworth (4-0) allowed one hit in 1 1-3 innings for the win.

Reds 3, Astros 1

At Cincinnati, pinch-hitter Jay Bruce had a go-ahead single in his return from the disabled list and Brandon Phillips homered for the Reds.

Playing his first game in more than two months, Bruce bounced a two-run single through the right side to give Cincinnati a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning.

Bronson Arroyo (13-12) allowed one run in seven innings, improving to 5-4 with a 2.11 ERA over his last 13 starts.

Diamondbacks 4, Padres 2, 10 innings

At San Diego, Brandon Allen singled in the go-ahead run off Adam Russell (2-1) in the 10th inning to lift Arizona to the win.

Pinch-hitter Alex Romero then grounded out to bring in another run and the Diamondbacks won for just the second time in 11 games.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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