Tim Lincecum

Tim Lincecum saves it for utterly spent Giants

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PHILADELPHIA – The Giants’ 9-6 victory over the Phillies lasted 14 innings, involved 16 pitchers throwing 507 times to the plate, took five hours and 46 minutes, included more cramping than a track meet for septuagenarians and it finally ended 7 minutes before 1 a.m. Wednesday morning at Citizens Bank Park when Tim Lincecum really and truly recorded his first career save.

“Eck!” shouted Giants coach Shawon Dunston, as Lincecum met with reporters.

“Not without the mustache,” said Lincecum, who is clean-shaven again but for the soul patch.

Rather than rehash every draining detail, which is conveniently available for your digestion in the Instant Replay, let’s jump straight into the zany aftermath.

This is what you didn’t know while you were watching:

–Giants manager Bruce Bochy and interim pitching coach Mark Gardner decided prior to the game to hold off having Lincecum throw his side session, just in case they came upon an emergency-glass situation. Makes sense. Their long guy all season, Yusmeiro Petit, was starting and George Kontos threw two of the bullpen’s six innings the previous night. That turned out to be a prescient thought.

–If the Giants hadn’t taken the lead on Brandon Crawford’s three-run double in the 14th, Lincecum wouldn’t have appeared in the bottom of the inning when Kontos ran out of gas with one out and two aboard.

“I was only going to use Lincecum in that situation, with a lead,” Bochy said.

–If the game had remained tied in the 14th, the next pitcher after Kontos would’ve been left fielder Tyler Colvin, Bochy said.

“I asked him if he’d pitched before and he said high school,” said Bochy, and as a side note, Brandon Belt would’ve been forever jealous if that would have happened.

–Lincecum is still good to go Friday against the Dodgers at AT&T Park. He went down to the bullpen in the 13th and ended up throwing 21 pitches. And yes, as he jogged out to the mound, he did think back to his relief appearance here in Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS.

“Just get outs,” he said, asked his mindset. “Really, just try to keep my teammate’s runs from scoring. … That just shows a lot from our guys. Putting in all that work that they did, you want to make sure it isn’t for nothing.”

Lincecum did allow one of his two inherited runners to score, on a ground out. He wasn’t happy about that. It was the only run Giants relievers have allowed in 15 innings over two games here.

–Yes, a pitcher has thrown a no-hitter and recorded a save in the same season. Sandy Koufax actually did it three times, in 1962, ’64 and ’65.

–How did Hector Sanchez, who caught all 248 pitches, look to Lincecum in the 14th?

“Like he was wearing it pretty good,” said Lincecum, “and I wasn’t helping the cause.”

Sanchez was cramping up between pitches. Afterward, he did shirtless jumping jacks on his way to the shower, and yelled out, “I’m ready to go tomorrow!” He was joking, of course.

–Kontos threw 40 pitches one night after he threw 21, and said he could give Bochy a couple batters if needed on Wednesday. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t joking.

“I pride myself on being able to do this kind of thing,” said Kontos, who began his pro career as a starter.

–The Giants’ nine pitchers matched the second most used in a game in all-time franchise history. They used 11 in an 11-inning loss in 2012 against the Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. Oddly enough, Kontos, the winning pitcher in both of these games in Philadelphia, took the loss that day.

–Bochy said he didn’t anticipate a roster move despite the heavy bullpen usage. Jeremy Affeldt threw 39 pitches and will be off-limits, and so will Kontos no matter what he says. But other guys went short enough to be available. Regardless, Wednesday night would be an excellent time for Madison Bumgarner to flirt with a complete game.

–Madison Bumgarner had a hitter’s shin guard strapped to his leg pretty much from the 11th inning on, which shouldn’t surprise you. He wasn’t used. Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong were the only other Giants who didn’t get into the game.

–Buster Posey had four hits, finished a triple short of the cycle, matched his career high with three extra-base hits, improved to 10 for 23 on the trip (.435) and took the team lead with 53 RBIs. His tying, ninth-inning home run off Jonathan Papelbon was the first the Phillies’ closer had allowed all season. He had faced 148 batters before Posey took him deep.

“He’s a good player, and when those players get in that zone, they’re fun to watch,” Bochy said.

It wouldn’t have been as much fun for Posey if he had started behind the plate.

–Crawford, who earlier in the game committed his second error in two nights, had what might have ranked among his biggest hits ever against a right-hander. He was batting .207 against them entering the game but his three-run double off Jeff Manship snapped a tie in the 14th.

“They were getting a little tired,” said Crawford, asked if he had his legs under him. “I think everybody’s were. I tried to keep it simple. We only needed one run. I tried to stay compact, more than earlier in the game, and hit it on the barrel.”

–Bochy cancelled batting practice and players will arrive later than usual on Wednesday. Strength and conditioning coach Carl Kochan yelled to Sanchez to meet him at 2 p.m. to run stadium stairs. He was joking. Even if he were serious, Sanchez would not be running stadium stairs.

–Joe Panik’s ankle swelled up after he sprained it while trying to avoid pitcher Roberto Hernandez’s foot at first base in the first inning. He was replaced in the bottom of the second. He expects to be out two days or so, but the Giants aren’t discussing the disabled list.

–Because of Panik’s injury, Ehire Adrianza had seven at-bats in a game he didn’t start, which established an all-time Giants franchise record. The previous mark of six at-bats (also plate appearances) was done many times, last by Harry Spilman in 1986.

(Yuniesky Betancourt was the last big leaguer to come off the bench and get seven at-bats, for the Royals in 2012. The major league record is nine – and 10 plate appearances, too – by Tom Paciorek for the White Sox in 1984.)

–Finally, Panik’s parents earned the Croix de Broad Street. They were among the select few who stayed for the entire game.

“A couple friends, too,” he said. “They’re troopers.”

Them, and everyone else on the visiting side.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.