Lincecum pitches Giants past Cards

Sunday, April 25, 2010
Cardinals left fielder Allen Craig misses on a diving attempt for a line drive by Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria during the sixth inning Saturday in San Francisco. (MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ ~ Associated Press)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum knows he might not have made it through a start like this two years ago, when his best stuff wasn't there.

That's how far the Giants ace has come trusting that he can get it done no matter the circumstances.

Lincecum struck out eight to win his initial four starts for the first time in his career, San Francisco scored runs on a pair of errors and a wild pitch, and the Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 on Friday night to end a four-game losing streak.

Lincecum (4-0) -- the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner -- has established himself as San Francisco's stopper, going 27-12 in 59 outings following Giants losses, including 3-0 this year. The Giants debuted their new orange jerseys for what's become a tradition known as "Orange Friday."

"You just come out and battle every time," Lincecum said. "Those are the days you really see what guys are made of."

St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Felipe Lopez turns a double play over San Francisco Giants' Mark DeRosa after a ground ball by Bengie Molina during the fourth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, April 24, 2010. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Yadier Molina singled in St. Louis' run in the sixth, but the Cardinals could do little else against Lincecum. In 2008, the hard-throwing righty started 4-0 in his first five starts.

With Lincecum on the mound and the bright new look, the Giants got back on track to kick off a nine-game homestand on the heels of a disappointing 1-5 road trip.

"We had to stop the little rut we were in," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He goes out and gives us a great effort against a very good ballclub."

The Cardinals (10-6) were off to an NL-best start, but now must win the next two games here to avoid dropping their first series of the season after capturing their initial five.

Lincecum, now with a 1.00 ERA, was done once he reached 120 pitches in seven innings. He allowed six hits and walked three. Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless eighth and Brian Wilson finished for his third save in as many chances, striking out the side.

"We rise to the occasion when we play good teams," Wilson said.

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