Lincecum allows seven hits in second complete game of season

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Tim Lincecum had to work a little harder for this one. Even a few jams weren't enough to faze him.

The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner pitched a seven-hitter in another complete game against Oakland, Pablo Sandoval and Edgar Renteria each hit RBI doubles and the San Francisco Giants beat the Athletics 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Lincecum (7-2), who fueled up with an ice cream taco pregame in the clubhouse on a hot summer afternoon, had a 2-0 lead before he even threw his first pitch. He struck out 12 in his fourth career complete game and second this year, finishing the 2-hour, 16-minute game with an efficient 108 pitches. The other also came against the A's, on June 12.

"You try to be the same person with no outs as you are in jams," Lincecum said. "I felt I had to do a little bit more as the game went on, in the fifth, sixth, seventh."

Bengie Molina and Matt Downs added sacrifice flies as the Giants bounced back after the A's snapped their five-game winning streak in the series Monday night. San Francisco swept Oakland earlier this month for the first time since 2001.

Lincecum's lone baserunner in the first 5 1/3 innings came on Jason Giambi's solo home run leading off the second. Giambi returned to Oakland's lineup after getting the day off Monday to rest his sore body.

Does Lincecum feel like the pitcher he was during his special season last year?

"I don't know," he said with a smile. "I feel like I'm doing all right."

Ryan Sweeney and Orlando Cabrera hit back-to-back singles off Lincecum in the fifth, then Daric Barton walked to load the bases. But pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra hit the first pitch he saw into an inning-ending double play.

The A's loaded the bases again with one out in the sixth only to ground into another double play, then Lincecum again escaped a jam in the seventh. Still, he'd thrown only 89 pitches through seven.

San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy was ready to make a change the moment Lincecum ran into trouble in the eighth. The hard-throwing right-hander produced a 1-2-3 inning, getting Giambi on a called third strike for the final out.

"The kid's quite the competitor," Bochy said. "When he had to turn it up a notch, he did."

Lincecum struck out 10 or more for the fourth time this season. He was coming off just his second loss of the year last Wednesday to the Angels and first in 12 starts since a defeat at San Diego on April 12.

"There's something special about that kid," said Molina, the Giants' catcher.

Sweeney and Cabrera were the only players with two hits for Oakland, which had won three of four.

"They pulled a double play on us twice," A's manager Bob Geren said. "The last time we faced Lincecum he was pretty dominant. We had our opportunities this time and couldn't get the key hit."

A's rookie Vin Mazzaro (2-2), who lost to Lincecum and the Giants 3-0 on June 12, hung tough through six innings. He allowed four runs on seven hits, struck out six and walked two.

Gio Gonzalez will be brought up from Triple-A Sacramento to pitch Wednesday night for the A's in place of injured left-hander Josh Outman.

Game notes
The A's hosted a reunion to honor their 1989 World Series champion team that swept the Giants in an earthquake-interrupted Series. Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, Series MVP Dave Stewart, Dave Henderson and current A's pitching coach Curt Young were among the 12 in attendance. Giants hitting coach Carney Lansford was a captain on that team. Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were no-shows. A greeting from then-A's skipper Tony La Russa showed on the main scoreboard. ... Giants INF Juan Uribe was held out another day with an injured left hamstring that he hurt June 13. He has only pinch hit twice since. ... The Giants haven't made a decision whether to skip struggling LHP Jonathan Sanchez's next turn, though they are strongly considering it and letting him work out of the bullpen a time or two. ... A's 3B Eric Chavez had back surgery Tuesday, a season-ending procedure he hopes will salvage his career. The six-time Gold Glover had the operation performed by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles.