Lincecum, Giants blank Rockies

SAN FRANCISCO – Tim Lincecum struck out eight in eight innings to end a four-start winless stretch, Pablo Sandoval homered and the San Francisco Giants gained ground on wild card-leading Colorado with a 2-0 victory Friday night.

The Giants pulled within two games of the Rockies in the wild card and six of the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost at Cincinnati.

This win certainly provided a boost for San Francisco four days after the Rockies rallied for a 6-4, 14-inning win Monday night on Ryan Spilborghs’ game-ending grand slam after the Giants had scored three in the top half. They lost the final three of their four-game series at Coors Field but led in all of the games.

Sandoval hit a solo home run in the fifth to break up a scoreless game. He was back in the lineup after missing three straight starts, two with tightness in his right calf and then Thursday’s 11-0 loss to Arizona with the flu.

Lincecum (13-4) threw a season-high 127 pitches in a rematch of last Sunday’s matchup in which he lost to Rockies right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (12-10). Lincecum, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, was sharp from the start this time, earning his first victory in five starts since beating Philadelphia on Aug. 1.

Lincecum allowed four hits and walked three. Brian Wilson finished the Giants’ majors-leading 17th shutout for his 31st save.