Cabrera, suspended for drug use last season and now with the Toronto Blue Jays, may not get as favorable a reunion with Bay Area fans when he returns to San Francisco in Tuesday night's opener of a two-game set.
The outfielder was suspended 50 games Aug. 15 for a positive testosterone test. The MVP of last year's All-Star game, he was left off the Giants' postseason roster and took the unprecedented move of disqualifying himself for the NL batting title. San Francisco's Buster Posey took the crown by leading the majors with a .336 average while Cabrera batted .346.
Bochy presented Cabrera with his ring in a private ceremony in the weight room before the start of a series May 14-15. Toronto (24-33) swept the two games from San Francisco (30-27).
The manager may have done that to avoid a scene at home, although Cabrera insists he isn't worried about his reception.
"It's up to the fans, it's nothing I have control of," Cabrera told the Blue Jays' official website. "I'm just going to play the game. If they decide to boo, that's fine. If they decide to cheer, that's fine with me, too. But I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to focus on the game and try to help my team win."
There will likely be boos if Cabrera produces like he did in last month's series. He went 5 for 8 with four runs scored and two RBIs.
San Francisco starters allowed 16 runs in that series. Half of them were unearned, as the Giants totaled four errors.
Tim Lincecum (3-5, 5.12 ERA), who hasn't faced the Blue Jays since 2007, could be pitching to remain in the rotation Tuesday. Lincecum has posted an 8.27 ERA in losing his last three starts, and Bochy actually had the right-hander available in the bullpen this past weekend in St. Louis.
Cabrera is 1 for 6 against Lincecum.
These teams had Monday off. Toronto, however, is no doubt looking for some length out of starter Josh Johnson (0-1, 6.86) after its bullpen allowed one run in 22 2-3 innings over the weekend as the Blue Jays dropped two of three in San Diego.
Toronto relievers worked nine scoreless innings in Sunday's 7-4, 11-inning victory."We're proud of it, but then again, we're only as good as our next one," reliever Steve Delabar said.
Johnson will make his first start since April 21 after being out due to right triceps inflammation. He has worked on a revamped changeup during his rehab.
"Hopefully, I can get it to that level where it can be a huge pitch for me," said Johnson, seeking his first win in eight starts.
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 3.46 ERA in six outings against the Giants. Hunter Pence (5 for 11 with two homers) and Andres Torres (5 for 8 with a homer and three doubles) have fared well against him.
The same can be said of Angel Pagan , who is 6 for 17 against Johnson and may return Tuesday after missing eight games with a sore left hamstring.
Brandon Belt , who went 3 for 6 with a homer last month in Toronto, broke a tie with a two-run pinch-hit double in the seventh in Sunday's 4-2 win over the Cardinals. That was just the second win in seven games for San Francisco.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|June 02, 2013||Ramon Ortiz||Day-to-Day||Left game - right elbow|
|June 01, 2013||Brandon Morrow||15-Day DL||Right forearm strain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||15-Day DL||Left ankle sprain|
|May 28, 2013||Brett Lawrie||Day-to-Day||Ankle sprain|
|May 19, 2013||Darren Oliver||15-Day DL||Left shoulder strain|
|May 11, 2013||Rajai Davis||15-Day DL||Strained oblique|
|San Francisco Giants|
|May 26, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Mild hamstring strain|
|May 21, 2013||Ryan Vogelsong||15-Day DL||Fractured right hand - out 6-8 weeks|
|May 21, 2013||Santiago Casilla||15-Day DL||Cyst on right knee|
|May 20, 2013||Ryan Vogelsong||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken right hand|
|May 08, 2013||Santiago Casilla||Day-to-Day||Left game - right knee|
|May 04, 2013||Angel Pagan||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Tim Lincecum pounded the strike zone with a consistency and confidence that looked a lot like The Freak of old.
He only hopes this outing will carry into the next, and the one after that.
Lincecum ended a three-start losing streak, Andres Torres hit a two-run homer and the San Francisco Giants beat Melky Cabrera and the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 on Tuesday night.
"I was able to hit my spots more often and more consistently, mechanically I felt sound and things just kind of got better," Lincecum said. "It definitely feels good but we've still got a lot to do, a lot of work to do. I've said it before, I'm not jumping up and down right now, I'm just happy with what we did today. Tomorrow's another day for work."
Cabrera had two hits in his return to AT&T Park with Toronto for the first time since his 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test last Aug. 15.
Lincecum (4-5) allowed Edwin Encarnacion 's first-inning solo home run, then retired the next 14 Blue Jays in order.
Coming off his shortest outing of the year of 4 1-3 innings last Wednesday in a 9-6 loss to Oakland, Lincecum allowed three hits and one run, struck out six and walked one in seven impressive innings.
"That is more the Timmy that we know," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We needed it."
The Giants handed Josh Johnson (0-2) a loss in his return from the disabled list.
Torres connected for his second homer in the second, and he also made a couple of nice catches in left field behind Lincecum.
The struggling right-hander looked more like his old self after losing four of five starts and five of his last six decisions - in which he had allowed 27 earned runs in 42 1-3 innings for a 5.74 ERA.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner quickly regrouped after Encarancion's 17th home run and found a groove.
Cabrera apologized to the Giants and their fans during a dugout news conference before the game. He was eligible to return for the NL championship series, but the Giants decided in late September 2012 to keep him off the postseason roster the entire way.
Cabrera, the 2012 All-Star game MVP who produced a 51-hit May last year, received his World Series ring when the Giants visited Toronto last month.
Booed - with no sign of the "Melk Men" who used to cheer him - by the sellout crowd of 41,981 each time he stepped into the batter's box.
"They have their reasons to do what they did. I just play my game," Cabrera said.
Cabrera went 2 for 4 with a leadoff single in the first and another base hit in the sixth but flied out with the tying run at first for the first out in the ninth.
"A guy like that, when you're getting boos, you know it's for a reason," Lincecum said. "He was a good player for us, and now he's not, so you're going to hear that here."
The Blue Jays missed a chance in the sixth. With Johnson aboard on a walk and at second following Cabrera's single, Jose Bautista hit into his second double play of the game with a liner to Pablo Sandoval at third base. Sandoval fired to second and Marco Scutaro made the play but dropped the ball as he tumbled forward, bringing Blue Jays manager John Gibbons out to argue.
Lincecum, knocked out of his only other start against the Blue Jays after 3 2-3 innings in 2007, pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.
The pitcher's recent problems raised speculation of a possible move to the bullpen like the one last fall that was so successful for the club's run to a second World Series championship in three years.
Jeremy Affeldt pitched the eighth and Sergio Romo finished for his 16th save in 18 chances to end the 2-hour, 16-minute game. It was the Giants' fastest game of the year.
The Blue Jays snapped a three-game losing streak with Sunday's win at San Diego, but dropped their seventh in 11 overall Tuesday and ninth of 13 on the road.
Johnson looked strong in his fifth start of the year and first back from since being sidelined April 22 with right triceps inflammation. He struck out six in seven innings and didn't walk a batter, but dropped to 0-4 in eight career starts against the Giants.
"We missed him," Gibbons said of Johnson. "You watch a performance like that, that's what Josh Johnson is. And then Lincecum, we got on the board in the first and he did a heck of a job of shutting us down."
Sandoval was back in the Giants' lineup after missing three games with a strain in his left foot, while center fielder and leadoff hitter Angel Pagan sat out for the ninth straight game with a strained left hamstring.
But Sandoval was replaced late in the game by Joaquin Arias . The plan had been for him to play six or seven innings, and Bochy said Sandoval was a little bit sore but should be available Wednesday afternoon.
NOTES: Lincecum had been 0-4 in his previous five interleague outings. ... Toronto also activated OF Rajai Davis from the DL and he grounded into an inning-ending double play as a pinch-hitter in the eighth against his former team. Fellow ex-Giant Mark DeRosa had a pinch-hit single. ... The Blue Jays are 5-5 vs. the NL West and fell to 1-6 all-time at AT&T Park. ... An MRI on injured Toronto pitcher Ramon Ortiz 's right elbow showed no significant damage after the 40-year-old righty was hurt Sunday at San Diego. ... The Giants beat the Blue Jays for just the second time in the last seven meetings after struggling with the bouncy turf in Toronto in ugly 10-6 and 11-3 losses May 14-15.