SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Each time he takes the mound, Tim Lincecum is becoming more comfortable again. More trusting that his command will carry him just like it used to every fifth day.
Lincecum pitched San Francisco one win closer to an NL West crown, and the Giants lowered their magic number to clinch the division to seven with a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Lincecum (10-14) struck out six and walked two in 6 1-3 scoreless innings on a day the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers were postponed by rain in Washington. He was fighting a constant cough that came on during the weekend in the dry desert air of Arizona.
When Lincecum reached his low point this summer, he started taking a "nothing to lose" approach.
"I know it's been a long year. You never stop working," Lincecum said. "I feel like I'm getting back to that point. I still feel like I'm grinding a little bit, but those harder situations are getting a little bit easier to get out of."
Marco Scutaro had three singles, drove in a run and scored twice and Xavier Nady had two RBI singles for the Giants (85-63), who moved a season-high 22 games over .500. Pablo Sandoval added two hits, including a double, and Hunter Pence added a sacrifice fly.
Wilin Rosario hit a two-run homer off Santiago Casilla in the eighth inning, matching the Rockies' rookie record of 25 set by Todd Helton in 1998.
Angel Pagan extended his own San Francisco record with an RBI triple in the eighth, his major league-leading 14th. He tipped his batting helmet from third base to acknowledge the cheering crowd.
Following a walk to D.J. LeMahieu in the second inning, Lincecum retired the next 11 batters in order before Dexter Fowler's leadoff walk in the sixth. What happened next is rarely seen: Fowler was out at second on a fielder's choice as the ball bounced off his batting helmet on shortstop Brandon Crawford's throw to first attempting to get Charlie Blackmon for a double play. Blackmon was then caught stealing.
Lincecum improved to just 4-8 with a 3.67 ERA at home this season, but he sure looked like his old stellar self for a significant stretch on this cool September night — albeit with three of Colorado's best hitters out injured.
After beating the Rockies last Wednesday at Coors Field, the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner posted consecutive victories for the first time since April 23 and 28. He also won his third straight decision.
"That's the Timmy that we know, and we're going to need him down the stretch," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Timmy's tough when he's on his game, and he's on it right now."
Rookie Hector Sanchez, who has caught Lincecum most of the season, doubled, singled and scored a run. With him behind the plate, Buster Posey started at first base.
When Posey drew an intentional walk in the third, many in the sellout crowd of 41,718 chanted "M-V-P! M-V-P!" He drew another one in the seventh, drawing boos.