Tim Lincecum has made it a habit of putting the Giants in early holes this season. That is something he'll try to avoid tonight when San Francisco wraps up a three-game set against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
Lincecum has been charged with 20 earned runs over his six starts this season, with 12 of those coming in the first inning. That was again the case on Friday versus the Brewers as all three of his runs seized came in the opening frame of a no-decision.
The right-hander pitched five innings and allowed two hits and four walks. He was looking for a third straight victory despite having walked 13 batters over his last three outings. Lincecum had allowed just four in his initial three starts.
"I'm happy with the way I was able to come out of it. But giving up three at the beginning of the game in the first inning, that's not the way to put your team in a position to win," said Lincecum.
The 27-year-old Lincecum is 5-4 with a 2.85 earned run average in his career versus the Dodgers, but did go 0-3 against them last year in five starts despite a 1.83 ERA.
Lincecum may have little room for error tonight given that San Francisco has scored just three runs in the first two games of this series. However, the Giants are still in position for a series win after following Monday's 9-1 setback with last night's 2-1 triumph.
Brett Pill supplied the offense with a two-run homer in the second inning -- San Francisco's first longball in seven games -- and Ryan Vogelsong scattered eight hits and three walks over 7 1/3 frames of one-run ball. Javier Lopez took over for Vogelsong in the eighth and got an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, one of four turned by the Giants in their third victory in four games.
"Defense has hurt us at times this year, but tonight it saved us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Vogelsong did a terrific job and gave us what we needed and the bullpen really stepped up."
Clayton Kershaw allowed two runs and struck out seven over eight innings, but still had his 10-game overall win streak and 12-game win streak at home snapped despite a solid outing.
"He did what he was supposed to do," Kershaw said of Pill's homer. "He put a pretty good swing on it. They made me pay for the two mistakes I made."
James Loney knocked in the only run for the Dodgers with an RBI double in the second inning, while Dee Gordon added two hits in the loss. Los Angeles has dropped four of its last six and fell to 11-3 at home.
Chad Billingsley tries for his first victory in five outings when starts the finale for Los Angeles.
The right-hander is 0-2 since opening the season with consecutive wins and suffered a loss at the Cubs last Friday. Billingsley, 27, was charged with four runs on a season-high eight hits over six innings while also walking three.
"I made some mistakes over the plate," said Billingsley, "but as far as everything else, I still felt good out there."
Billingsley holds a winning record over his career versus the Giants, going 7-5 with a 3.24 ERA, but was just 1-2 with a 6.04 ERA in four starts in this rivalry last season.
The Giants and Dodgers split 18 meetings last season.