Tim Lincecum won his showdown against fellow ace Mat Latos as the San Francisco Giants beat San Diego 6-1 on Sunday to move into a tie with the Padres for first place in the National League West.
Two-time reigning NL Cy Young winner Lincecum (14-9) struck out nine in seven innings and added a two-run single to lead the Giants to their third win against the Padres in the finale of the critical four-game series.
“When you’ve got the team rolling behind me, scoring runs, you’ve got to take advantage of it,” Lincecum told reporters after winning his third straight start following an 0-5 stretch.
“My confidence is at an all-time high, especially coming off the last month,” he said.
Lincecum’s single in the fourth gave San Francisco a 5-0 lead against Latos, who allowed seven hits and five runs in just four innings.
Latos (14-6) surrendered more than two earned runs for the first time since June 4, snapping a streak of 15 successive starts, and San Diego (80-62) lost for the 13th time in 17 games to draw even with the Giants (81-63) in the standings.
The teams will meet for one final three-game series to close the season Oct. 1-3.
San Francisco jumped on the Padres early when Buster Posey blasted a two-run home run in the first inning. The team added a run in the third and two more in the fourth.
Posey had two hits and Aubrey Huff finished 3-for-5.
Right-hander Latos entered the game with a Major League-best ERA of 2.21 but had it swell to 2.43.
“I feel it makes us a little stronger with the ups and the downs,” Latos said.
“This is going to be a tough race. The Giants have got a good ballclub. Colorado’s making a nice little push. We need to step our game up a little bit,” he said.
Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 2
In Denver, pinch-hitter Jason Giambi hit a two-run homer off Sam Demel (1-1) with two outs in the ninth, giving Colorado its 10th straight win.
Jonathan Herrera started the rally when he reached on an error by second baseman Kelly Johnson.
Colorado’s winning streak is the longest in the NL this season and one game short of the major league best shared by the Chicago White Sox and Texas.
Phillies 3, Mets 0
In New York, Roy Oswalt (12-13) pitched a four-hitter for his second complete game this season as Philadelphia blanked New York.
Raul Ibanez hit a solo homer off Jon Niese (9-8), and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard had RBI singles for the Phillies (83-61), who nosed ahead of second-place Atlanta in the NL East by winning for the fifth time in six games.
In other NL play it was:
• Pirates 3, Reds 1
• Cardinals 7, Braves 3
• Marlins 6, Nationals 5
• Astros 7, Dodgers 4
• Brewers 2, Cubs 0
AP, ARLINGTON, Texas
Cliff Lee allowed two hits while pitching into the ninth inning in his return from a back injury and Julio Borbon hit a go-ahead single to carry the Texas Rangers to a 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees and a sweep of the series between division leaders.
Lee (11-8) didn’t give up a hit for 5 1-3 innings, facing the minimum in that stretch. Both hits and the lone run came in the sixth inning.
Neftali Perez struck out the next three batters for his 36th save in 39 chances, completing the first three-game sweep of the Yankees this year.
New York lost for the sixth time in seven games but maintained a half-game lead in the American League East because second-place Tampa Bay lost 5-4 to Toronto.
Twins 6, Indians 2
In Cleveland, Kevin Slowey earned his first win in nearly a month as the Twins beat Cleveland for its 4,000th win since the franchise moved to Minnesota.
Slowey (12-6) gave up two runs over five innings in his second start since being sidelined with a strained right triceps.
The original Washington franchise moved to Minnesota after the 1960 season and became the Twins. The AL Central leaders open a three-game series in Chicago against the second-place White Sox today.
Minnesota took a 5-0 lead in the first inning on a walk, stolen base, four singles, error, wild pitch and sacrifice fly against Mitch Talbot (9-12) and emergency reliever Justin Masterson.
Blue Jays 5, Rays 4
In Toronto, Adam Lind hit a two-run homer off Rafael Soriano in the ninth inning to give Toronto a win over Tampa Bay.
With Toronto trailing 4-3, Aaron Hill led off the ninth with a single off Soriano (2-2), who had converted his previous 19 save chances since July 20. After falling behind 0-2, in the count, Lind lined his 22nd home run of the season to right field.
B.J. Upton’s ninth-inning sacrifice fly off Kevin Gregg (2-5) had put Tampa Bay ahead following Brad Hawpe’s one-out walk and Desmond Jennings’ hit-and-run single.
In other AL play it was:
• Angels 3, Mariners 0
• White Sox 12, Royals 6
• Red Sox 5, Athletics 3
• Tigers 6, Orioles 2