Casper Wells and Jesus Montero made sure it was the Mariners who got going early with first-inning home runs, sparking an offense that piled up 12 hits in a 7-4 win over Tim Lincecum and the Giants.
Tim Lincecum made his Safeco Field debut Saturday night. The right-hander, a Liberty High School graduate who pitched at Washington, took the mound looking to turn the corner on a slumping season.
It was the day after his 28th birthday and, despite playing on the road, there was a strong contingent of fans wearing orange and black chanting, “Let’s go Giants!”
Lincecum was staring down a Mariners club stumbling through a six-game losing streak during an extended power outage.
One way or another, a slump was coming to an end.
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Casper Wells and Jesus Montero made sure it was the Mariners who got going early with first-inning home runs, sparking an offense that piled up 12 hits in a 7-4 win over Lincecum and the Giants.
“It was really nice to see us score some runs here at home and put something together like we did tonight,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
With one out in the first, Wells ripped a solo shot that landed in the Giants’ bullpen in left field. Montero’s blast went a little farther, landing in the left-field bleachers. The home runs provided the instant offense the Mariners have been looking for.
“It was a good feeling today,” said Montero, who went 3 for 4 and scored twice. “Today was very nice. My timing was good. My swing was good. I was looking for good pitches and it helped the team to win.”
The lead didn’t last. San Francisco scored twice in the third to tie the game, the first run coming on Ryan Theriot’s RBI single to right field. The second baseman went 3 for 5 with two RBI and gave the Giants a fourth-inning lead with an RBI single up the middle.
When Melky Cabrera drove in a run to give San Francisco a two-run cushion, Giants fans once again started a “Let’s go Giants!” chant.
Lincecum retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced after Montero’s home run and didn’t allow another hit until Dustin Ackley slapped a leadoff single to right in the fifth. Ackley came around to score on Ichiro’s RBI single, and the Mariners later tied the game when John Jaso scored on a wild pitch.
After giving up a leadoff single to Montero in the sixth, Lincecum’s day was done. He allowed five runs on five hits and picked up his eighth loss of the year, but received a nice ovation as he walked off the field.
“He’s a great pitcher,” Wedge said. “It’s easy to see why, with as free and easy as he is and the way he throws his fastball — drives it in there. And the changeup. And he’s got the breaking ball, too. I thought we did a good job of squaring up some fastballs.”
The Mariners loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, prompting Wedge to call on Franklin Gutierrez to pinch hit for Jaso. The outfielder delivered with an RBI infield single that gave the Mariners the lead. Brendan Ryan followed with a two-run single up the middle.
“It’s nice when you keep fighting and don’t give in and everybody is competing at the plate,” Ryan said.
Kevin Millwood, making his first start since he suffered a groin strain while pitching the first six innings of a combined no-hitter June 8, went five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits.
“Kevin battled,” Wedge said. “He was up a little bit and, obviously, battled like he does and kept us in the ballgame.”
Hisashi Iwakuma threw two hitless innings in relief to pick up the win, while Tom Wilhelmsen pitched a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
“The bullpen really had to step up, Iwakuma, (Charlie) Furbush and then Wilhelmsen,” Wedge said. “Those guys did a great job of keeping them where they were.”
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org