(Aug. 15, 2012) -- Giants' starter Tim Lincecum lasted just four innings in a 6-4 loss to the Washington Nationals Wednesday night at AT&T Park.
The outing was the sixth time this season that Lincecum has failed to complete five innings. Lincecum entered the day with a 2.72 ERA in six second-half starts, but gave up eight hits, including three in the two-run first inning that he needed 38 pitches to get through.
"They kind of just foul-balled me to death and put together some good at-bats when they needed to," Lincecum said.
Lincecum's first-half struggles came largely because of his inability to put hitters away, and that problem returned in the third inning. With two outs and two strikes, he threw a 91 mph fastball that Danny Espinosa crushed into the stands in deep right-center field for a tiebreaking two-run homer.
Nationals' starter Stephen Strasburg gave up just two runs on four hits through six innings.
And the news off the field was just as bad for the Giants. Melky Cabrera, the team's No. 3 hitter has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season for violating baseball's drug prevention policy. He was suspended for 50 games after testing positive for higher-than-normal amounts of testosterone.
"It is crushing," Lincecum said. "But it's just like a day where he's given a day off, so you've got to approach it that way."
A day after being called up from Triple-A Fresno, right-hander Dan Otero was sent back. The Giants plan to call up two position players in time for Friday's game in San Diego.
By the time the Giants take the field at Petco Park on Friday in San Diego, they will have had one game and a couple days to adjust to life without Cabrera.
"We're disappointed. Melky was having a real nice year for us, but our thoughts right now are just on moving on," said Giants' manager Bruce Bochy."That's all you can do, whether that's with an injury or something like this, this team will remain focused on winning ballgames. That's where we're at right now, and that never changes."
Gregor Blanco, who has played 100 games this season, took Cabrera's spot in left field on Wednesday.
San Diego manager Bud Black will send Ross Ohlendorf to the mound on Friday to face Matt Cain. After dropping two straight decisions for the second time this season to start the month of August, Cain will look to win his second-straight game and notch his 12th victory of the campaign on Friday.