The Angels signed Tim Lincecum hoping the two-time Cy Young Award winner would help stabilize their injury-ravaged rotation, but the veteran right-hander has provided little relief in two of three starts.
Lincecum walked two batters ahead of Carlos Correa’s three-run homer in the first inning Tuesday night and failed to make it out of the fifth inning of a 7-1 loss to the Houston Astros in Angel Stadium.
Lincecum, the former San Francisco Giants star who spent the winter recovering from left hip surgery before signing in May, was charged with five earned runs and seven hits in 41/3 innings, striking out seven and walking four.
After giving up one run and four hits in six innings of a 7-1 win over Oakland in his Angels debut on June 18, Lincecum has been tagged for nine earned runs and 14 hits in 71/3 innings of his last two starts, both losses. His season ERA: 6.75.
“My fastball command was pretty terrible, and I didn’t get a chance to establish the zone and work around that,” Lincecum said. “And felt myself getting one-dimensional again with my changeup. That’s a good hitting team. They punished balls up in the zone.”
Lincecum struck out three in the first inning but walked George Springer and Jose Altuve, both on four pitches, before hanging a 2-and-0 changeup to Correa, who belted it over the left-field wall for his 13th homer.
The Astros, who are 24-9 in their last 33 games and 17-8 in June, scored in the fourth on Marwin Gonzalez’s triple and Carlos Gomez’s double. Correa walked in the fifth and later scored on Gonzalez’s squeeze bunt for a 5-1 lead. Of Lincecum’s 101 pitches, only 55 were strikes.
“After the first inning, he settled in and you saw some stuff that looked a little like what he had up in Oakland,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of Lincecum. “But he couldn’t repeat his delivery and repeat pitches enough to give himself a chance.”
Yunel Escobar missed his fifth straight game because of a bone bruise in his left knee, but Scioscia said the third baseman and leadoff man is “making progress” and could be activated for the start of a 10-game trip Friday. …
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has reached base in 31 straight games, a career high. …
Angels right-hander Nick Tropeano, who was activated off the disabled list and optioned to triple A last Friday, gave up two earned runs and three hits in 62/3 innings for Salt Lake against Albuquerque on Tuesday night, striking out seven and walking one. Of his 85 pitches, 63 were strikes. …
Catcher Geovany Soto, out since May 18 because of right knee surgery, is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday.