WASHINGTON — A struggling Tim Lincecum started Saturday night for the San Francisco Giants against a Washington Nationals team that’s given him fits for the last several seasons.
He wasn’t around very long.
Jordan Zimmermann pitched eight strong innings, Asdrubal Cabrera homered and the Nationals kept up their dominance of the two-time Cy Young Award winner, beating the Giants 6-2 Saturday.
Lincecum (10-9) was seeking his 100th win in the majors, but turned in the second-shortest start of his career. He gave up six runs, four of them earned, on six hits and four walks in 2 2-3 innings.
“You can go out there and think yourself through an outing and not be successful just because you’re not allowing yourself to do it. Your brain’s kind of in the way,” he said, “and I feel like that’s where I’m at now. It’s a little bit (that) my head’s getting in the way of me.”
In his last seven starts against Washington, he’s 0-6 and has permitted 34 earned runs in 32 2-3 innings. Lincecum has failed to pitch at least five innings in four of his last six starts overall, going 1-3 with a 9.49 ERA.
He expressed confidence he can pitch his way out of his current woes.
“I’ve done it before,” Lincecum said. “It was a different time in my life, but I’m still tenacious and competitive enough to work through it and not let it get to me, or at least not get the best of me.”
Manager Bruce Bochy was asked about considering moving Lincecum to the bullpen.
“We’ll talk about it,” Bochy said. “He definitely had a tough go today. He was out of sync and his delivery, command, everything — he was just off.”
It was Lincecum’s shortest start since he allowed six earned runs and lasted just 2 1-3 innings against Colorado on April 11, 2012 in a 17-8 loss.
Jayson Werth added a pair of RBI singles and Span had a triple and single for the NL East-leading Nationals, one night after San Francisco ended their streak in a 10-3 win.
The Giants got off to a good start against Zimmermann (9-5), when Angel Pagan led off with a double and Hunter Pence followed with his 18th home run on a pitch well out of the strike zone.
“There’s only one guy in the game that’s going to hit that pitch and it’s him,” Zimmermann said. “I threw it right where I wanted, 0-2 and up by his shoulders. Beats me how he hit it that far.”
Zimmermann quickly recovered and allowed seven hits overall, striking out eight without a walk.
Pablo Sandoval had three hits for San Francisco, which had won six of eight.
Yusmeiro Petit replaced Lincecum and retired all 13 batters he faced. He hasn’t allowed a hit in his last 12 1-3 innings of relief.
The first three Nationals reached base in the first as Werth’s single scored Span, and a double-play grounder brought home the second Nationals run.
Aided by an error, Washington scored three in the second to make it 5-2.
Lincecum’s outing ended in the third when Cabrera homered and Zimmermann doubled.
CHICAGO — Chris Coghlan finally solved Bud Norris with a bases-loaded triple, leading the Chicago Cubs over Baltimore.
Cubs rookie Javier Baez hit his seventh homer in a game delayed because of rain for more than three hours.
Justin Grimm (4-2) pitched 3 1-3 hitless innings as the last-place Cubs won their second straight against the AL East leaders.
Coghlan was 0 for 15 with six strikeouts against Norris (11-8) before hitting his fifth triple of the season.
Before the game, the Orioles announced injured All-Star third baseman Manny Machado had decided to have season-ending right knee surgery.
RED SOX 3
BOSTON — Dustin Ackley’s three-run homer capped a seven-run fourth inning that carried Seattle over Boston, sending the Red Sox to their seventh straight loss.
It was the ninth win in 12 games for the Mariners, who increased their slim lead over Detroit for the second AL wild card.
Boston designated hitter David Ortiz had his streak of reaching base four times in four straight games halted, but he did walk and was hit by a pitch before leaving with a bruised left elbow.
Trailing 3-0 in the fourth, the Mariners chased starter Brandon Workman (1-8) with their big inning.
Tom Wilhelmsen (2-2) struck out three in 1 1-3 innings of relief after starter Chris Young couldn’t make it out of the fourth.
MINNEAPOLIS — Kennys Vargas drove in a career-high five runs, Joe Mauer had three RBIs and Yohan Pino won his first start in more than a month as Minnesota routed Detroit again in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
Vargas went 2 for 4 with two doubles and a sacrifice fly. The rookie has 22 RBIs in his first 21 major league games since making his debut on Aug. 1.
One day after a 20-6 blowout, the Twins scored seven runs off starter Buck Farmer (0-1), who lasted just 1 1-3 innings and ran his ERA to 15.63 in his second career start.
Pino (2-5) worked five innings, allowing four runs — one earned — and six hits while striking out six.
WHITE SOX 3
NEW YORK — Carlos Beltran gave the Yankees’ struggling offense a jolt with a home run in his return to the lineup, and Martin Prado had another go-ahead hit against Chicago.
Hiroki Kuroda (9-8) worked in and out of trouble for six innings, allowing two runs and five hits in helping New York to its third straight win after a 2-7 stretch.
Beltran missed the previous three games because of a sore right elbow. He singled and scored in the fourth, then opened the sixth with a homer off Scott Carroll (5-8).
Prado hit a two-run double in the fourth that put New York up for good. He had a game-ending RBI single with two outs in the ninth Friday night.
The Yankees scored more than four runs for the first time since Aug. 8, a span of 11 games.
David Robertson pitched a scoreless ninth for his 34th save. Yankees batters did not strike out in a game for the first time since May 12, 2011, in an 11-5 loss to Kansas City.
The White Sox wasted an early lead for the second straight night, matching a season high with their fifth loss in a row.
BLUE JAYS 5, RAYS 4
TORONTO — Jose Reyes singled home the winning run with two outs in the 10th inning, and Toronto beat Tampa Bay in a game the Rays played under protest.
The Blue Jays took a 4-3 lead in the seventh when Dioner Navarro hit a two-run homer off Brad Boxberger, but closer Casey Janssen couldn’t hold on. Pinch-hitter James Loney singled home the tying run with one out in the ninth, handing Janssen his fourth blown save.
Colby Rasmus reached on a bunt single to begin the 10th against Joel Peralta (2-4) and stole second. Dustin McGowan (5-3) worked one inning for the win, and the Blue Jays improved to 6-13 in August.
Rays manager Joe Maddon protested the game in the fourth, claiming umpires granted Toronto a replay challenge after the next play had begun.
MILWAUKEE — Pedro Alvarez homered twice to break out of a 5-for-34 slump in Pittsburgh’s victory over Milwaukee.
Alvarez hit a three-run shot in the fourth inning and a solo drive in the fifth against starter Wily Peralta (15-8). Russell Martin also connected for a three-run homer off the right-hander, who held the Pirates hitless for 3 2-3 innings but quickly fell apart.
Neil Walker had three hits and three RBIs.
Pittsburgh starter Edinson Volquez (11-7) pitched out of trouble almost every inning to improve to 3-0 in five August starts. The right-hander allowed 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings, but Milwaukee managed only two runs off him.
Third-place Pittsburgh won its third consecutive game to pull within four of the NL Central-leading Brewers.
CLEVELAND — Jose Ramirez’s ninth-inning single lifted Cleveland over Houston.
Pinch-hitter Tyler Holt started the inning with a single off Jake Buchanan (1-3). After Roberto Perez moved Holt to second with a sacrifice, Michael Bourn walked. Buchanan’s wild pitch pushed the runners to second and third before Ramirez lined a 3-2 pitch past third base.
Cleveland has 10 walk-off wins this season. Cody Allen (5-3) struck out two in a perfect ninth.
Trying to stay in playoff contention, the Indians (65-63) have won eight of 12.
PHOENIX — Didi Gregorius hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning after Arizona blew the lead in the top half, lifting the Diamondbacks over San Diego.
Vidal Nuno pitched effectively into the eighth and was in line for his first win with Arizona since being traded by the New York Yankees on July 6. Instead, the Padres loaded the bases and Yangervis Solarte hit a two-run single off Oliver Perez (3-3).
The Diamondbacks answered in the bottom half, when Gregorius tomahawked an 0-2 pitch just over the wall in right off Kevin Quackenbush (2-3) for his third hit in 40 at-bats over 11 games.
Jake Lamb singled to set up Gregorius’ big hit and had his first career homer in the second.
Addison Reed worked a perfect ninth for his 30th save.
Nuno gave up two hits in 7 2-3 innings but is winless in nine games since the trade — the longest streak to start a career by an Arizona player.
Andrew Cashner made his first start for San Diego since coming off the disabled list and allowed two runs in five innings.