Lincecum pitches 3 solid, Pence homers for Giants
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) -- Tim Lincecum pitched three strong innings and Hunter Pence homered as the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals 5-0 on Friday.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is coming off his third straight losing season. The Giants re-signed him to a two-year, $35 million contract in the offseason.
"Since the contract got finalized, it's just about focusing on the season and the two years ahead of me," Lincecum said.
Lincecum allowed two hits in the first inning, including a leadoff double to Norichika Aoki, who was out trying to steal third.
Lincecum's fastball was mostly in the 89-91 mph range.
"I'm not really too worried about trying to get it up or where it is at," Lincecum said. "It's all about placement. I know if I set my sights low in the zone I'll be better off."
Pence hit his first home run to center in the sixth off Wade Davis.
Tony Abreu, who played for the Royals in 2012, singled home Gregor Blanco in the third inning for the Giants. Joaquin Arias' sacrifice fly in the second brought home Michael Morse with the first run.
Giants non-roster invitee Mark Minicozzi, who played for independent league teams from 2009-11, homered off Jon Rauch in the two-run ninth.
The Royals, who entered the game with a Cactus League-leading .332 batting average, managed just four hits, only two after the first inning.
"We had three of our hottest hitters out of the lineup," Royals manager Ned Yost said, mentioning Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. "It was just one of those days, not really much (offensively)."
Giants: Lincecum did not strike out a batter or walk one.
"I just wanted to pound the zone a little bit more than I did," Lincecum said. "My last game I had a batter where I threw four straight balls and I was really trying not to let that happen and attack the zone. Even if I was behind to hitters, come back and make really good pitches. That's where my mindset was at."
Royals: Yordano Ventura, who is one of three candidates for the final rotation slot, allowed two runs on three hits and a walk over two innings, while striking out two.
"I threw mainly a fastball and changeup because I felt like those two pitches were really working," Ventura said with teammate Bruce Chen acting as his interpreter. "I want all my pitches to be working, but I'm very happy those were working today. Even though I gave up two runs, I felt I threw a lot of good pitches."
ON A ROLL
Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson, Ryan Vogelsong and Lincecum, who are projected to be the Giants starters, have allowed one run and 13 hits with three walks in 23 innings in eight games.
Royals: Right-hander Luke Hochevar will undergo season-ending reconstructive elbow surgery. Reliever Louis Coleman, who was held out of the first eight games with a bruised finger, is scheduled to pitch an inning Saturday.
Pitcher Brad Penny has been released from a minor league contract by the Royals. The 35-year-old right-hander gave up four runs and eight hits in two innings Thursday against the White Sox, who hit three doubles and a home run. He allowed 13 hits over four innings in two spring training appearances and had a 15.75 ERA.
Penny denied reports Friday that he broke his left hand punching a dugout wall after his poor outing. "I did hurt my left hand, but it was a freak accident," Penny said. He said was injured when he slammed his glove down.
B THE CLOSER
Royals closer Greg Holland worked a scoreless inning in a five-inning B-game against the Rangers. Holland walked one and struck out one. Moustakas, who leads the Cactus League with 10 RBIs, was the DH and went 0 for 3 with a walk and struck out twice.