SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Michael Cuddyer's recent hitting tear hasn't surprised his manager.
Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to 12 games with three hits and drove in a run for the Twins, who fell to the San Francisco Giants 2-1 on Thursday.
The Twins lost their second in a row after a season-best eight-game win streak. They are 15-4 since their last losing rut. Cuddyer has had a lot to do with the recent success.
``He's swinging good for us and he's been playing very well no matter where we put him,' Ron Gardenhire said. ``That's been there the whole year for us. Offensively he's picked it up definitely but he's been there for us the whole year. When everybody else has been hurt, Michael has been our lineup. He's been the rock.'
Cuddyer is hitting .488 (20 for 41) over his current streak, perhaps improving his chance at being named an All-Star.
``He's very deserving in my opinion,' Gardenhire said. ``I sure hop that happens. I would be very happy for him. We'll see.'
Tim Lincecum struck out 12 in seven superb innings in his first career start against the Twins.
``He kept us off balance,' Twins shortstop Matt Tolbert said. ``He was on. He mixes up his pitches well. The ball kind of jumps on you.'
Lincecum (6-6) rebounded from a rash of poor starts. He gave up three hits, walked two and never allowed a runner past second base.
Javier Lopez pitched the eighth and Brian Wilson got three outs, despite allowing his first run in 15 1-3 innings, for his 21st save in 23 chances.
Brian Duensing (4-7) allowed just his sixth earned run in his last 22 2-3 innings. He yielded six hits, walked two and struck out five.
``A very good pitching matchup,' Gardenhire said. ``They just pitched a little better. That's the Duensing we were looking for. He was consistent and has good stuff.'
Lincecum entered the game with the worst NL ERA (7.59) in June. He threw 72 of his 109 pitches for strikes in one of his most effective starts. He won for the first time since May 27.
The Giants opened the scoring in the second inning. Pablo Sandoval singled with one out and Pat Burrell followed with a double. Sandoval scored on Tejada's infield groundout.
Duensing and reliever Alex Burnett got the Twins out of a tight spot in the seventh. The Giants had runners on first and third with no outs and failed to score after pinch-runner Emmanuel Burriss was caught trying to score on a safety squeeze and pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz grounded sharply to second with the infield in.
``That guy was filthy,' Duensing said of Lincecum. ``That's how you win Cy Young awards. He has really good stuff, gets ahead in the count a lot and made us chase a lot.'
Burnett hit Aaron Rowand with a pitch but then got Bill Hall to fly out.
Ross added an RBI single in the eighth against Glen Perkins.
NOTES: Giants manager Bruce Bochy said there would ``be a little bias' when it came to All-Star roster additions when asked about RHP Ryan Vogelsong. ... The Twins activated RHP Joe Nathan after the game and plan to activate INF Jim Thome. RHP Jim Hoey was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room. ... Giants OF Andres Torres and SS Brandon Crawford were given the day off and both are likely to start Friday. ... Twins C Joe Mauer (sore back) and IF Tsuyoshi Nishioka (sore hamstring) were held out of the starting lineup. They both pinch hit. ... Giants IF Mike Fontenot (right groin strain) could start a rehab assignment this weekend. ... Twins OF Denard Span (concussion) may start hitting again when the team arrives in Milwaukee. ... Cuddyer has eight doubles over his last 12 games.
The Associated Press News Service
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