When the Giants go through their next bad patch - and they will - perhaps they can harken to the moments before Saturday night's 3-1 victory against the Braves, when Tim Lincecum busted up the dugout and umpires when he took the lineup card to home plate. Lincecum donned his black glasses and stuck a towel under his replica 1946 San Francisco Sea Lions uniform so he could look like a, what, fat manager from 1946? "I had a good pregame meal," Lincecum said. "I was able to shed it by the first inning. The umpires looked at me like I'm an idiot, so I guess I'm an idiot." But a happy idiot, for this is what winning teams do and how they act. They find ways to laugh at themselves before, during and after the tight games that closer Sergio Romo so eloquently described as "grindy." The Giants own the third-best record in the majors at 19-11. They have won eight of their past nine and finally found the proper formula for winning a series in this city: hit nothing but solo home runs and get shutdown pitching from their fourth and fifth starters. That fairly tells the story of the Giants' two wins against the Braves, which clinched their third regular-season series victory in Atlanta since 1994. Like Lincecum on Friday night, Ryan Vogelsong held the Braves to one run in six innings. Vogelsong outdid Atlanta's Opening Day starter, Julio Teheran, for his first win of 2014. Madison Bumgarner will try to pitch the Giants to their first three-game sweep in Atlanta since 1988. The winning pitchers in that series at Fulton County Stadium were Atlee Hammaker, Kelly Downs and Don Robinson. The big names Saturday were Brandon Belt, Buster Posey and Michael Morse. They respectively hit the Giants' 37th, 38th and 39th home runs of the season in the second, fourth and seventh innings, making the Giants the first team in 2014 to pin three earned runs on Teheran. The Giants might not be driving in runners in scoring position. Heck, on Saturday they had no runners in scoring position. And they might not be homering with runners on. Their past nine have been solos. But they are clearing fences just enough to back some exceptional pitching. Maybe some of the guys, overtly or internally, are competing in a long-ball contest. Belt hit his eighth in the second inning to break a tie with Morse for the team lead. Morse retied Belt five innings later. "I haven't sensed that," shortstop Brandon Crawford said. "Maybe that's because I haven't gotten in on it yet. It wouldn't be a bad thing if Morse were to hit one and Belt wanted to hit one." Crawford is 1-for-6 in the series, but no matter. On consecutive nights he earned part of Romo's save with exceptional plays at short. Crawford ended Saturday's game by flying to his left to stop a grounder by Andrelton Simmons, spinning 270 degrees to his left and firing to first in time.
Power and pitching again propel Giants over Braves
San Francisco Chronicle | May 4