By Vince Cestone
Tim Lincecum looks like Tim Lincecum again.
Lincecum notched his second victory of 2012 in impressive fashion. Not only did he pitch eight innings of one-run ball, but he also broke up San Diego Padres' starter Anthony Bass' perfect game with an infield single in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Lincecum did not light up the radar gun, topping out at 90 mph, but he was effective, mixing and matching the fastball with his offspeed pitches. The result was in Lincecum's favor.
The Padres scored first in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by Nick Hundley. A throwing error by first baseman Brandon Belt fueled the third-inning rally.
The Giants made two more errors Saturday night, their fifth of the series.
Belt made up for his miscue in the bottom of the seventh inning. With runners at first and third, Belt scorched a two-out double into the left-center field gap.
The Giants scored two runs on that double and took a 2-1 lead. San Francisco would go on to win by that score.
Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-4 in the game, ending his 20-game hitting streak.
Tim Lincecum showed everyone last night why he is an ace.
Let's face it. Lincecum's fastball isn't up to speed right now.
What used to be 96-97 mph, then 91-94 mph, is now 89-91 mph. Lincecum is learning how to make it work, which is what separates a pitcher from a thrower.
Lincecum mixed and matched his pitches nicely last night. Like Barry Zito, Lincecum cannot rely on blowing away hitters right now with pitches up out over the plate.
Why? The answer is simple.
The difference in velocity between his fastball and changeup is not as great as it once was, which makes pitch recognition easy for the hitter. Lincecum must rely on knee-high control and using his assortment of pitches, including his changeup, curveball, slider, and split.
Lincecum simply cannot blow hitters away with pitches out over the plate like he used to. Keep this in mind though.
Sometimes, making it work with less stuff on the mound can make you a better pitcher than dominating when you have all your stuff.
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Information from ESPN.com contributed to this article.
Image Attribution: By SD Dirk on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Tim Lincecum") [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons