The good vibes from the good ol' days were back at China Basin. Fans cheered Tim Lincecum's every move, even the simple ones. Taking the mound. Walking off the mound. He put down a sacrifice bunt, and fans reacted as if he'd hit a home run.
Maybe it was because it was Little League Day (kids will shriek over a foul tip) or maybe it was because fans were determined to turn Mother's Day into Happy Lincecum Day. Nevertheless, the noise got louder with each scoreless inning, and the loudest came during the pitcher's stroll to the dugout after his seventh and final inning.
Make no mistake about Giants fans: They still love their Lincecum.
The Giants won their third straight over the Braves on Sunday 5-1, and Lincecum was darn near his old self, permitting two hits and issuing three walks while baffling a team that leads the National League in home runs. The Braves had two singles, one that didn't leave the infield.
"The pitches I threw in the zone weren't down the middle of the plate, and the balls they hit weren't exactly rockets," Lincecum said. "I was missing the barrel of the bat more. You do that, good things happen."
It might have been Lincecum's best start since Aug. 13, 2011, in Miami, the last time he lasted seven innings without yielding more than two hits. It's something he said he can build on, "but I'm not jumping up in the air right now."
Suddenly, dynamic starting pitching, absent for much of the season, is a theme. Lincecum's performance followed gems by Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, and catcher Buster Posey called the last three games "some of the better baseball we've played this year, all around."