MIAMI -- Two mistakes cost Tim Lincecum the loss when the Giants dropped the series finale, 3-2, on Sunday at Marlins Park -- a sweaty offspeed pitch in the first inning and a wild pitch in the seventh. The Marlins took advantage of both and effectively dashed the Giants' hopes of sweeping a team for the first time since they took all three against the Mets in early June.
With the game tied at 2 in the seventh, Lincecum allowed a leadoff double to Adeiny Hechavarria, who moved over on a sacrifice bunt. He then scored easily when Lincecum's 2-1 pitch to Reed Johnson hit the dirt and skipped behind home plate toward the Marlins dugout.
"He throws a lot of pitches down there," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's got a lot of movement. He's not easy to catch. That one just kicked away enough to where [Hechavarria] could score."
It was a touch of bad luck for the righty, who retired Johnson with his seventh strikeout of the day. Lincecum didn't exactly dazzle the Fish but, despite not being at his sharpest, he only allowed three runs on 114 pitches through seven innings.
Oddly enough, the Giants' best starter in the last month couldn't keep the Marlins off balance like his other rotation mates managed in the first two games of the series. Lincecum had come in with a 0.30 ERA in his last four starts but the Marlins -- Casey McGehee, namely -- wormed their way ahead of him in the first inning.
With an 0-2 count and a runner on base, Lincecum threw a splitter "that didn't split" due to some excess perspiration on his hand when he released the pitch. McGehee took advantage of the mistake and yanked a home run to left-center field approximately 390 feet, according to metrics displayed on the video board at Marlins Park.
Lincecum had allowed just one run in 31 innings before the first-inning homer to McGehee. Coincidentally, that run also came on a homer to the Padres' Brooks Conrad on July 6.
"It would have been better if I didn't get off on that bad foot to have to try to put the team in a position to fight back," Lincecum said. "That's the hardest part about today, knowing that I should have been in the driver's seat on that pitch [but] I gave him a cookie."
The Giants tried to stage a rally for their starter -- it just wasn't enough.
Three straight hits in the third inning erased the Marlins' early lead. Marco Scutaro, back in the lineup for just the second time this season after experiencing both neck and back discomfort, contributed with a softly hit single through the gap into left field. That brought up Buster Posey, with Hunter Pence already on base via a double. Posey roped a two-bagger of his own down the third-base line and into the left-field corner, with both Pence and Scutaro scoring.
But Posey was stranded, one of four Giants left on base Sunday. In three instances, the Giants got the leadoff man on board, but they were only able to knock him in that single time.
The offensive streak the Giants had been riding before the loss Sunday tapered off as they only recorded six hits in 32 at-bats. None of them came from the bottom of the order, which went a combined 0-for-13.
"We got the leadoff hitter on there a few times but we just couldn't keep the line moving today," Bochy said. "We couldn't get the order right. ... The back end of the order had a tough day."
On a bright note, Pence hit two doubles Sunday, giving him his 36th multi-hit game of the season. And Scutaro's single in the third was his first hit since Sept. 13.
"I'm not concerned too much about production right now," he said. "I want to win and everything, but the main thing is starting to feel good and being able to compete. Today was a good day. I felt better than after the last game."
Maria Torres is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.