SAN FRANCISCO – Since the Braves were helping to make Tim Lincecum look like it was 2011 all over again, Lincecum’s new Giants teammate Tyler Colvin must have decided it’d be a good night to hit like it was 2012.
Lincecum allowed just two hits — both by B.J. Upton, including a homer — and Colvin drove in three runs with a homer and a triple to lead the Giants past the Braves 4-2 Monday night in a series opener at AT&T Park.
Colvin was playing Triple-A ball before getting called him up Saturday. His first hit for the Giants landed in McCovey Cove, a second-inning homer off Gavin Floyd for a 1-0 lead.
Lincecum (3-2) allowed one run and had 11 strikeouts with four walks in 7 2/3 innings. He has a 1.32 ERA in two starts against the Braves, and a 6.07 ERA in six starts against everyone else.
Freddie Freeman’s ninth-inning homer completed the scoring for the Braves, who’ve mustered two or fewer in 17 of 37 games.
“We didn’t get anything going,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose Braves snapped a three-game winning streak. “We didn’t get very good at-bats against Lincecum.”
Floyd, in his second start since Tommy John surgery 12 months ago, pitched impressively until the seventh inning, when the Giants blew open a 1-1 game with three runs. After Hector Sanchez’s leadoff single, first baseman Freeman botched a grounder and Colvin drove in both runners with a triple down the first-base line for a 3-1 lead.
Brandon Hicks followed Colvin’s triple with a single to center to drive in another run before the first out of the inning. Colvin and Hicks hit 0-and-2 pitches from Floyd (0-1), who was charged with four runs (three earned) and seven hits and had seven strikeouts with no walks.
“Obviously looking back, you want to make those (two) pitches,” Floyd said. “But I’m human.”
Colvin arrived Saturday from Fresno, where he hit .267 with two homers in 35 Triple-A games. He took Floyd deep on a 92-mph fastball with the count 1-and-1 count.
Colvin had a 20-homer rookie season four years ago with the Cubs and hit .290 with 18 homers for Colorado in 2012. But last season he .160 in 78 plate appearances in the majors and spent the rest of the year in Triple-A.
Lincecum had a 2.74 ERA and 220 strikeouts in 2011, then posted ERAs of 5.18 in 2012, 4.37 in 2013 and 5.55 in seven starts this season before Monday. But against the Braves, he gets results similar to what got when he was “the Freak,” even if he’s lost significant fastball velocity.
“He throws a lot of off-speed pitches,” Freeman said. “He sat that heater (fastball) in every once in a while just to keep it in the back of our minds…. We chased some pitches and he just kept us off-balance.”
Lincecum’s 10th strikeout was his biggest, coming with two on and two out in the sixth inning and the score 1-1. Chris Johnson struck out on three pitches, all sliders.
B.J. Upton had the Braves’ only hits through eight innings, a solo homer in the fifth and a one-out double in the seventh. He was also involved on a pivotal play in the seventh after being called safe at third base on a stolen base with Andrelton Simmons batting in tie game.
The Giants challenge and the called was overturned after replay review.
“It’s a game-changer,” Gonzalez said. “The replay that I got on the board, I couldn’t really tell. But coming in here (to the clubhouse after the game), I see it looks like he got him. From what I see in here, it looks like they made the right call. That’s what the replay is there for. It hurts a little bit, but in the end that’s what it’s there, right there.”
Simmons flied out to end the inning. The impact of the overturned call at third was further amplified when the Giants scored three in the bottom of the inning.
“I still thought I was safe,” Upton said. “I don’t know exactly what evidence they had to overturn it. I guess they saw something different in the booth. Hard for me to tell. I still thought I was there.”
They Braves had no hits until Upton homered with one out in the fifth to tie the score. He hit a hanging slider to the left-field seats, his third of the season.
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