Tim Lincecum may not be Roy Halladay, but that doesn’t mean he can’t go out and get some major work done in his postseason debut. Tiny Tim got the Giants off an rolling tonight in the first game of their NLDS against the Braves, tossing a complete game, two-hit shutout with 14 strikeouts mixed in. After struggling part of the season coming off back-to-back Cy Youngs, the little fella seems to be settling in just fine when it counts.
The win was a big one for San Francisco, which is in the playoffs for the first time since bowing out in the first round after a 101-win season in 2003. The Giants weren’t able to muster much offense themselves in this one, managing just five hits off five Atlanta pitchers, but scraped across the game’s only run on a two-out single by Cody Ross in the fourth to score Buster Posey. In a battle of the NL’s two Rookie of the Year candidates, Posey went 2-for-4 with a single and a double and the Braves’ Jason Heyward went 0-for-3 with two Ks and a walk.
Elsewhere, last night’s tirade against the Twins did little to rile them up, as they dropped the second game of their series with the Yankees 5-2, leaving them down a pair of games and heading to Yankee Stadium for Game 3. Once again, they let an early lead get away — this time just a 1-0 edge, which they’d gained on a sac fly by Danny Valencia in the second inning. A Lance Berkman homer gave New York a 2-1 lead in the fifth, and after Orlando Hudson tied it an inning later with a solo homer, Berkman ripped a two-run double after a questionable two-strike pitch off Carl Pavano to make it 4-2 and essentially put it away. Little Andrew Pettitte went seven innings to get the win for the Yankees, with Mariano Rivera coming on in the ninth to grab the save.
In the early game, the Rays’ decision to start washout James Shields proved to be the right one, since they didn’t push across any runs anyway. Why waste a decent starter when you’re not going to hit? Tampa Bay lost 6-0 to the Rangers, who got homers from Ian Kinsler and Michael Young to jump to a 2-0 series lead. The Young homer, which came with two on and one out in a 2-0 game in the fifth, brought its share of controversy, too — on the previous pitch, Young clearly offered at a two-strike pitch from Chad Qualls, but first base umpire Jerry Meals ruled it a check swing, extending the at-bat and allowing Texas to tack on three more runs. Nice to see the league dealt with last year’s fiasco by supplying us with the best crew of umpires it can possibly run out…
So, with a couple triple-headers in the bag, we’re set for a bit of an off-day tomorrow in postseason action with just two games on the schedule: Cincinnati will attempt to snag its first hit of the playoffs in a 6:07 start against the Phillies, and Atlanta and San Francisco renew acquaintances in the late game at 9:37.