Tim Lincecum gave the San Francisco Giants a vintage performance on Tuesday night, shutting down the Toronto Blue Jays in a pitcher’s duel with Josh Johnson, allowing just a run on three hits and a walk over seven innings en route to a 2-1 victory.
He needed a little extra help to do it, though.
No, I’m not talking about the help he got from Andres Torres‘ two-run homer in the second inning that turned out to be the winning runs, or the boisterous fans at AT&T Park that rained jeers down upon former Giants favourite-turned-villain Melky Cabrera.
The extra help that Timmy got came from the night’s umpiring crew, and in particular Alfonso Marquez.
See, while Lincecum was no doubt brilliant on this night, he was not entirely unhittable. In fact, he’d even gotten himself into a little bit of trouble in the sixth, having walked his counterpart in Johnson and subsequently allowing his third hit of the game on a single to Cabrera.
It was just the second time that the Freak had allowed a runner on scoring position through his outing, and with Jose Bautista at the plate, the Giants’ 2-1 lead was looking fairly fragile.
That’s when umpire came to the rescue. Lincecm got his batter to line out to Pablo Sandoval, who then doubled off Johnson at second base with a throw to Marco Scutaro … except he didn’t. Not only did replays show that Scutaro missed the bag upon receiving the wide throw, he then actually dropped the ball on the play.
Marquez, on the other hand, was busying himself with making an emphatic out call. Actually, he liked it so much that he made sure to make the call a second time when the ball scooted out of second baseman’s glove.
The way things were going, it was likely the case that Lincecum could have gotten himself out of trouble anyway. That said, it never hurts when there’s an willing umpire ready to provide extra outs, especially in a pitcher’s most vulnerable position in a tightly-contested game.
Now why would Marquez go ahead and do such a thing? It’s not like he’s got a beef against Toronto or … oh wait:
There’s the importance of the human element in the game, and then there are #UmpShows.