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San Francisco Giants lose 5-4 to Dbacks in opener, but show improved offense

Ian Kennedy started for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He remained in the game until the seventh inning.
Ian Kennedy started for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He remained in the game until the seventh inning.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

In the first game of the 2012 regular season, Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants lost 5-4 to Ian Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 06: Starting pitcher Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the Opening Day game at Chase Field on April 6, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Seven-Word Summary: Lincecum struggled, but the Giants offense rocked.

The Skinny: The real headline of this game isn't that Tim Lincecum has struggled (and lost) for his fourth consecutive start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but that the loss had nothing to do with the lack of offense that plagued the 2011 Giants. If the offense can keep this up -- and there's no reason to believe they can't, as long as they stay healthy (knock on wood) -- an on-his-game Lincecum will be one hell of a tough pitcher to beat.

The Game, by the Numbers:

11: The number of hits the Giants racked up, an amount that would have seemed completely absurd coming from the less-than-two-hits-per-game-on-average team that was the 2011 Giants.

3: The number of errors committed by the Giants.

66: The radar gun mph reading of one of Giants relief pitcher Clay Hensley's unbelievably slow-but-in-for-the-strike curveballs.

11: The number of times Diamondback hitter Paul Goldschmidt has faced Tim Lincecum. Out of those 11 at bats, Mr. Goldschmidt has homered 3 times and hit a tidy number of singles.

The Freak Watch: Not the best performance we've seen from The Freak. Both Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt got home runs off of him (in the first inning, for crying out loud), and his pitching still seems uncomfortably Spring Training-like in its tendency towards running high. In the last three games against the Diamondbacks, Lincecum has allowed a dismal 15 runs. And don't forget his last start of the 2011 season -- the one that clinched the National League West pennant for the Diamondbacks? -- when he tagged Justin Upton smartly upside the head. God forbid, but it looks like the Diamondbacks might be shaping up into a mental quagmire for Lincecum.

Giants Player O'The Game: Melky Cabrera, who doubled in the first, got off a two-run homer in the fifth, and singled in the ninth when the Giants made a valiant attempt at tying the game on their last few outs. This guy is going to be a major asset for the Giants offense.

The next Giants vs. Diamondback contretemps comes Saturday, April 7th in Arizona, with Madison Bumgarner going up against Daniel Hudson.

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