Tim Lincecum and Merkin Valdez, what an unbeatable duo. Both were instrumental in the Giants' first win of the season on Wednesday, 2-1 over the Dodgers. Witness this AP paragraph, which is my pick for paragraph of the year so far: The Dodgers announced less than 20 minutes before game time that Hong-Chih Kuo would start on the mound in place of Chad Billingsley due to the threat of inclement weather. The Giants followed suit, starting Merkin Valdez and keeping Lincecum waiting in the wings.
The Big Merkin responded by throwing two scoreless innings with four strikeouts, before giving way to Jack Taschner for one inning and then Lincecum, who pitched four innings, giving up a run and striking out four to get the win (sitting through an hour rain delay in the process). Lincecum even got a single — and was later driven in by Randy Winn — and is hitting 1.000. I was criticized for not mentioning Lincecum in the Giants preview, and with good reason; according to readers he leaves his home each morning by rolling a giant rock from the entrance. He was brought here to give his life for us, and take upon himself our sins. Hallelujah, the Giants win! Coincidentally, Jesus himself was also 1-2 after his first three games.
Hmmm, Merkin. I've just had an idea for as fantastic new Giants costumed mascot!
• O Brother, Where Art Thou? Mets fans will be shocked to learn that Pedro Martinez is on the disabled list — who had April 2 in the pool? — due to a pulled hamstring. He'll be out 4-6 weeks. New York shrugged at the news and beat the Marlins 13-0, collecting 17 hits, with three doubles by Carlos Beltran. That's 3.3 innings pitched for Pedro this season, folks, to go along with his combined totals for 2006 and '07 of 160 IP and a 12-9 record.
• It's Good To Be Back In The US Of A. Jon Lester threw a three-hitter over 6 2/3 and David Ortiz had a two-run homer as the Boston Ham Fighters defeated the Oakland Toyo Carp 5-0. This is how Boston is bringing in its relief pitchers from the bullpen this season, by the way.
• A-Rod Homers Yet Yankees Lose? What? A.J. Burnett, who very well could be a Cylon, was in command through six innings in the Blue Jays' 5-2 win over the Yankees. Burnett was chased by Alex Rodriguez's totally non-steroid-related two-run homer in the seventh, and Vernon Wells had a two-run homer off Mike Mussina.
• Zim Went The Strings Of My Heart. If you think the Giants are having trouble at the plate this season (and they are), take a look at the Phillies. The Nationals used three pitchers to earn a one-hitter, beating Philadelphia 1-0. The winning hit? You guessed it: A Ryan Zimmerman homer. You get a cookie. Tim Redding took a one-hitter into the eighth for the Ws.
• Who is This Ankiel You Speak Of? Rick Ankiel — with whom you may not be familiar — is doing a pretty decent job of replacing Jim Edmonds in center field for the Cardinals, evidently.
• This Just In ... Putz Placed On 15-Day Disabled List.