Lincecum fans 14 batters, Giants coast to Game 1 victory

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It wasn’t a no-hitter, but Tim Lincecum was about as dominant as it gets on Thursday night in San Francisco as the Giants captured Game 1 of the NLDS by a score of 1-0 over the Braves.

Racking up a postseason franchise record 14 strikeouts over nine innings of work, the 26-year-old from Bellevue, Washington carved through Atlanta’s lineup with ease.  He allowed just two hits — a double to Omar Infante, a double to Brian McCann — and walked only one batter.

Lincecum, the 2008 and 2009 National League Cy Young Award winner, didn’t
have the best 2010 regular season and finished up on September 29 with a
relatively pedestrian 3.43 ERA over 33 starts.  That’s all in the
past now.  Lincecum is still “The Freak,” or “The Franchise,” or whatever you want to call him.

But, again, the umpiring is going to dominate the night’s headlines.  The Giants plated their lone run largely because of a blown stolen base call in the bottom of the fourth inning that put rookie catcher Buster Posey into scoring position and allowed him to cross home plate a few batters later.

Had the right call been made, the game probably would have moved to extra innings at a 0-0 tie and Lincecum surely wouldn’t have gone the distance.

Alas, the Giants boast a 1-0 lead in the five-game series.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.