On the day that he batted his pitcher eighth, Dodgers Manager Joe Torre laughed and said he didn’t want to see the move backfire on him.
Rest easy, Skip.
It didn’t matter that Juan Pierre was batting ninth instead of Eric Stults on Wednesday night. It also didn’t matter that James Loney and Russell Martin swapped places in the batting order.
Tim Lincecum was on the mound for the Giants.
Lincecum held the Dodgers scoreless until the eighth inning, by which time the San Francisco Giants were well on their way to claiming their second victory of the three-game series, 9-4, at AT&T; Park.
Lincecum (2-1) was charged with three runs and six hits in seven-plus innings, the three runs and three of the hits coming in an eighth inning that the Giants entered with a 7-0 lead. He had eight strikeouts, raising his total over his last three games to 33.
The Dodgers faced Lincecum only twice in their 18 games against the Giants last season. Lincecum beat them in both games.
“We got pretty lucky last year,” Torre conceded.
Well, the schedule isn’t as charitable this season. The Dodgers are expecting to see the reigning Cy Young Award winner again at Dodger Stadium on May 10.
Lincecum was everything Stults wasn’t.
Stults made history of sorts on this night, becoming the first Dodgers’ pitcher to bat eighth in 44 years. The rest of his night was something to forget, as he lasted a mere 2 2/3 innings. Stults threw 67 pitches to record his eight outs and gave up five runs and seven hits.
Stults (2-1) never found a rhythm, retiring back-to-back batters only once -- in the second inning, when a sacrifice bunt by Lincecum was followed by a groundout by Fred Lewis.
A failed attempt by Juan Pierre to make a leaping catch at the center-field wall in the first inning resulted in a two-run triple by Bengie Molina.
Edgar Renteria knocked in Emmanuel Burriss with a second-inning single to give the Giants a 3-0 lead.
Aaron Rowand scored on a third-inning double by Nate Schierholtz, who then was knocked in by Burriss to make it 5-0.
However, Stults’ premature exit wasn’t without a benefit.
Left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo, who was believed by Torre to have lost his sharpness because of his limited activity and lost his place as the Dodgers’ setup man, was able to pitch in the kind of stress-free situation the manager wanted to provide for him.
With the Dodgers down by five runs, Kuo tossed a 1-2-3 fifth inning, which he ended by striking out Schierholtz.
Meanwhile, Lincecum was dealing. He retired the first 10 batters he faced and didn’t let a Dodger reach base until Orlando Hudson singled to center in the fourth inning.
The Dodgers finally got to him in the eighth.
Pierre and Rafael Furcal led off the inning with back-to-back singles and Pierre scored on a double by Hudson.
Lincecum walked Manny Ramirez to load the bases and the Giants brought in Jeremy Affeldt. Furcal scored when Ethier grounded into a double play and Ramirez was driven home by catcher Brad Ausmus, who entered the game in the seventh inning as a defensive replacement for Martin.
The Dodgers scored another run off closer Brian Wilson in the ninth on doubles by Mark Loretta and Pierre, but their own bullpen’s issues made that irrelevant.
Scott Elbert gave up two runs in 2 1/3 innings to raise his earned-run average to 7.11 and Guillermo Mota gave up two more in the eighth to bump his up to 7.71.