Thursday, April 04, 2013 3:11 am
Dodgers can't beat Tim Lincecum despite 7 walks
By JOE RESNICKAssociated Press
Josh Beckett also faltered in his season debut as Los Angeles dropped the rubber game of a season-opening three-game series with the defending World Series champions.
"The Giants are the world champs, we know that, and they have a great team," said slugger Matt Kemp, who was 0 for 2 in bases-loaded situations and hitless in four at-bats in the Dodgers' 5-3 loss on Wednesday night.
"But it's not all about the Giants. There's other good teams out there that we have to beat - not just one team."
Lincecum threw 91 pitches in five innings, but limited the Dodgers to two unearned runs and three hits. He struck out four while outperforming Beckett in a matchup of marquee pitchers coming off the worst season of their respective careers.
"You never really expect to get seven walks and come out with a win, but I was fortunate to be on the winning end of that" Lincecum said. "I felt like I could have pitched a lot better."
Beckett (0-1) was charged with five runs - three earned - and six hits in six innings, including home runs by Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence.
"The ball to Pence was a cutter, but I don't think I got it far enough away from him," said Beckett, who gave up 14 earned runs over eight innings in his final two starts this spring. "I made some pitches when I needed to, then I didn't make some when I needed to. But I felt good. I felt like I was getting on top of the ball a little bit better than I was maybe my last couple starts in spring training."
Beckett was the World Series MVP with Florida in 2003 and the ALCS MVP with Boston in 2007 - his only 20-win season. But the Dodgers' 32-year-old right-hander was 7-14 with a 4.65 ERA in a combined 28 starts last season with the Red Sox and Dodgers after he was acquired in a blockbuster nine-player trade on Aug. 25.
"I don't look at it like that," manager Don Mattingly said. "Ever since we've seen Josh over here, he's been throwing the ball good. Last year he pretty much kept us in every game that he pitched, and he could have had a lot better record better luck if we had put some runs on the board for him. He had a good camp and he's healthy, so we have no reservations about Josh."
Lincecum won back-to-back Cy Youngs in 2008 and 2009 and led the NL in strikeouts for three consecutive years. But the right-hander was 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA last season, then was relegated to bullpen duty in the playoffs - allowing an earned run and three hits in 13 innings with 17 strikeouts.
"If you had said I would end the (regular) season the way I did and not had the postseason that I did, then I would have had a lot more to think about," Lincecum said.
Jose Mijares relieved Lincecum in the sixth and threw 11 pitches without recording an out. He loaded the bases by hitting Skip Schumaker with a 1-2 pitch that caromed off his shoulder and over the home plate screen.
Kemp grounded into a double play against George Kontos as Mark Ellis scored. Javier Lopez then came in and struck out Adrian Gonzalez.
"It was good for me to get back on track, have a good outing and do my job," said Kontos, who on opening day got the loss after giving up a go-ahead home run to pitcher Clayton Kershaw in the eighth inning of a game that was scoreless.
There was a similar situation in the next-to-last game of last season at Dodger Stadium, when Kontos struck out Kemp with a runner at third, two out and the Giants leading by a run in the seventh inning. The Giants won that game 4-3, ending a six-game Dodgers winning streak.
San Francisco scored four times in the third to grab a 4-1 lead. Lincecum drove in Gregor Blanco with a groundout and Brandon Crawford scored when second baseman Schumaker booted Angel Pagan's grounder in the hole for an error. Sandoval then jumped on an eye-level 1-2 fastball one out later and lined it over the right-field fence, showing no signs of the bone spur or the nerve irritation in his right elbow that sidelined the burly third baseman for part of spring training.
"He's a special talent," manager Bruce Bochy said.
NOTES: Lincecum also walked seven over 6 1-3 innings in a no-decision against the Dodgers on Sept. 7. ... The Dodgers haven't scored an earned run through the first five innings in any of the first three games. ... Beckett is 5-5 with three no-decisions in his first start of a season.