LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tim Lincecum on the mound isn’t enough to get San Francisco a victory, especially if the Giants are playing the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner could only do so much, with his team once again failing to provide decent run support.
The Giants lost 2-1 Tuesday night, snapping their eight-game winning streak and falling another game behind Atlanta and St. Louis in the NL wild card race. They trail the Braves by 4 1/2 and the Cardinals by two with eight games to play.
“It hurts a lot, just because of the roll we’d been on,” Lincecum said. “This is going to set us back a little bit. We’ve just got to pray for a miracle.”
Clayton Kershaw won his 20th game and improved to 5-0 against San Francisco.
Four of those victories came against Lincecum, with Kershaw allowing one earned run in those games. That came on an eighth-inning homer by Chris Stewart.
“It’s frustrating, obviously,” Lincecum said. “But when you go up against a guy like that who’s having a year like this, you’ve got to be on your game. Every run counts, so you can’t go out there and give him a two-run lead and kind of put the ball in his court to put his foot down because he tends to do that a lot. And it’s not just against us.”
Lincecum (13-13) extended his career-high loss total, giving up two runs and eight hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked three. The right-hander got two or fewer runs of support for the 20th time in his 32 starts.
“We’ve just got to find a way to get a run or two for him,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “The wins aren’t there for Timmy, but if you look at his numbers, he’s having another great year. That’s why he’s won two (Cy Youngs) already. He’s just been on the short end of these well-pitched games.”
His losses notwithstanding, Lincecum relishes the matchups with Kershaw, who became the Dodgers’ first 20-game winner in 21 years.
“There’s no boring moment in the game. He tends to keep the games close, now all the time it seems,” Lincecum said. “You obviously don’t try to get caught up in that and get too frustrated in that. I tried to do the best job I could and he was just better, which is obviously tough to say. I’d rather see my offense do a lot better against him than what’s been going on.”
Linceum fell to 0-3 with a 1.82 ERA in his five matchups with Kershaw this season.
“Timmy did a great job, too, to keep that game close enough for us to win,” Bochy said. “We had our chances and had the right guys up, but it didn’t quite happen. We just couldn’t get that big hit.”
Kershaw (20-5) issued his only two walks after Stewart’s one-out homer. Kenley Jansen relieved him, striking out pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval and Carlos Beltran on a called third strike to end the inning.
Javy Guerra pitched the ninth to earn his 19th save in 20 chances.
Beltran singled in his first two at-bats after entering the game hitless in nine career at-bats against Kershaw.
“He has great stuff. Plus he throws over 95 and he has confidence in every single pitch,” Beltran said. “He throws one slider at 88 and another one 84, along with a changeup and a curveball. So he’s a guy who mixes his pitches well and that’s why he’s been so successful.”
Jerry Sands homered leading off the second inning to help the Dodgers win their fourth in a row and move a game above .500 for the first time since April 29 against San Diego. James Loney’s RBI single with two outs in the first gave them a 1-0 lead.
The Dodgers picked off baserunners three times, with Kershaw involved twice. He picked off Beltran to end the first and later got Justin Christian, giving Kershaw eight pickoffs which leads the NL.