If Tim Lincecum isn’t back, well, he’s certainly on the right track.
After tossing eight shutout innings against the Astros in his last start last Saturday, Lincecum gave up two runs over seven innings last night in Philadelphia as part of a 7-2 win over the Phillies. His ERA dropped from 5.93 to 5.72 with the solid effort.
Things looked pretty shaky for a moment, as Lincecum fell off the mound in the middle of his windup to balk in a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. He then walked the bases loaded before getting Placido Polanco on a groundout to escape. The only other run scored on a solo home run by Ryan Howard in the sixth.
Lincecum gave up just five hits in all while striking out six and walking a pair. He topped out at 92.9 mph on his fastball and maintained his velocity throughout. The Giants already lead the Dodgers by 2 1/2 games in the National League West, but they could start to pull away if Lincecum finally gets in a groove.
Your Friday box scores:
White Sox 2, Tigers 4
Marlins 3, Pirates 4
Orioles 10, Indians 2
Braves 11, Nationals 10 (11 innings)
Mariners 3, Rays 4 (14 innings)
Dodgers 7, Mets 6
Blue Jays 6, Red Sox 1
Brewers 1, Reds 3
Twins 2, Royals 1 (11 innings)
Cubs 1, Cardinals 4
Yankees 2, Athletics 3
Astros 8, Diamondbacks 13
Rangers 1, Angels 6
Rockies 5, Padres 9
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.