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Giants ace grateful for supportive fans

SAN FRANCISCO — Giants ace Tim Lincecum got plenty of support in his second hometown while he was winning back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards. He came to truly appreciate his fans when he was faced with adversity.

Last offseason, Lincecum faced a marijuana arrest in his home state of Washington. The right-hander, 26, repeatedly apologized for embarrassing himself and the franchise.

Then in August, he endured a career-worst five-start losing streak. He regularly showed his frustrations as he worked to find his dominant form.

"This city has taken me in," Lincecum said. "Kind of like, I wouldn't say a son, just because I'm not that young. But just as one of their own. Even in my mistakes and my faults and things that I've said wrong or done wrong, they've accepted me and still rooted us on and rooted myself on. So I can't say enough about the city. It's been great to me, the opportunities I've had here, the way people have embraced me. It's been great. It's a lot different than home."

Through all of it, Lincecum, who starts Game 5 of the NLCS against the Phillies tonight, credits his San Francisco community for sticking by him.

At AT&T Park, fans sport wigs mimicking Lincecum's shaggy brown hairdo.

"I've seen a lot of them and, I don't know, they asked me how close it was to resembling my hair and I gave them the okay, but I don't know how close it is," the pitcher said with a grin.

IBANEZ SITS: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel replaced struggling Raul Ibanez in leftfield with Ben Francisco, putting another right-handed bat in the lineup against Giants LHP Madison Bumgarner and giving his veteran a chance to get his bearings.

Ibanez went in batting .130 (3-for-23) with seven strikeouts in the postseason, including 0-for-11 with a walk and five strikeouts in the NLCS.

"I talked to Raul and I feel like Raul is trying too hard and overswinging, chasing bad balls," Manuel said. "The swing is getting long. Plus, I wanted to put another right-handed hitter in the lineup."

POSEY BREAKS OUT: Giants rookie C Buster Posey drove in the first postseason run of his career Wednesday night with an RBI single in the first inning. He added an RBI double in the third to drive in former Ray Aubrey Huff. Posey, who was 6-for-16 in the division series against the Braves, entered the game 1-for-11 in the NLCS.

Giants ace grateful for supportive fans 10/20/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 11:40pm]
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