Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants looks on after being taken out by manager Bruce Bochy against the Chicago Cubs in the seventh inning during a baseball game at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. The Cubs won the game 7-0. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
If I had told you before Monday night's Cubs/Giants game that one of the pitchers was going to throw a two-hit shutout, and the other team would hit four home runs, you wouldn't have guessed "Randy Wells" was the answer to the first part of that statement. Nor would you have guessed "Cubs" as the answer to the second part, either, although the Giants have had their problems hitting home runs in 2011.
Tim Lincecum, the Giants' starter, had made 149 career starts before Monday night and not allowed more than two home runs in any of them. Further, he had given up three home runs combined in his previous 14 starts this year.
This game had all the earmarks of a 1-0 pitchers' duel, won by Lincecum. Or, given Wells' troubles for much of this season, a 7-0 Giants victory, even though the Giants had scored that many runs only twice in August.
The final score was 7-0 -- but in favor of the Cubs, who got a two-hit shutout from Randy Wells, the first complete game and shutout of his career. Not only that, it was the Cubs' first complete game in a win in almost two years, since Ryan Dempster shut out the Pirates on five hits on Sept. 29, 2009. (The Cubs have had two CG in losses since then, one by Dempster in 2010 and one by Matt Garza this season.)
If that weren't unusual enough, the Cubs hit three home runs off Lincecum. Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Blake DeWitt took Lincecum deep; for Soto, the blast broke an 0-for-25 slump. The three-run homer by DeWitt -- and maybe that could have been expected, as DeWitt had been 8-for-18 lifetime against Lincecum before Monday -- brought a sad-faced Bruce Bochy to the mound to remove Lincecum. Two batters later, Carlos Pena hit the Cubs' fourth home run, off reliever Steve Edlefsen, who was wearing a spring-training-like uniform No. 65.
Great as The Freak is, he cannot seem to shut down the Cubs in his home park. He now has a 5.23 ERA against the visitors from Chicago when they come to San Francisco, in five career starts, and the Cubs have defeated him there four times.
For the Giants, still trying to defend their World Series title, it was a crushing blow. The season still has a month remaining, but San Francisco fell five games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West with the loss. The teams have six games remaining against each other -- including a series this coming weekend in San Francisco -- so Arizona can't count its playoff shares quite yet. But the Giants need to start scoring -- Monday night's game was the 13th time they'd been shut out this year and the 30th time they had scored one or no runs -- or they'll be sitting at home this October.
Wondering, perhaps, how they got shut out on two hits by Randy Wells on August 29. In the immortal baseball word of Joaquin Andujar: "Youneverknow."