San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Pablo Sandoval scorched a three-run homer in the first inning to fuel the San Francisco Giants' 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the opener of a three-game series Friday at AT&T Park.
Brandon Hicks hit a solo homer and finished with two RBI, while Hunter Pence plated a run and scored once for the Giants, who have won three of their last four games.
"I think we just have a lot of guys on the team that have the ability to drive it out of the ballpark," Hicks said. "I think we just have a solid lineup."
Tim Lincecum (4-3) allowed two runs on five hits and six walks with four strikeouts over six innings to pick up the victory.
Joe Mauer registered two hits, an RBI and a run scored for the Twins, who had won two straight and five of their last six games.
Kyle Gibson (4-4) gave up five runs on five hits with four strikeouts over five frames to absorb the loss.
The Giants jumped on Gibson in the opening frame, as Angel Pagan stroked a leadoff double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Pence followed with a chopper to third and was originally ruled out on the bang-bang play at first, but San Francisco challenged the call, which was overturned to leave runners on the corners.
After Pagan was caught in a rundown and retired following Buster Posey's grounder to third, Sandoval drilled a first-pitch fastball over the high wall in right to give the home team a 3-0 lead.
"You can't throw a fastball over the plate like that and he did," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Gibson's pitch to Sandoval. "You have to make a better pitch than that."
The Twins cut the margin to one in the third, as Brian Dozier ripped a leadoff single and scored on Mauer's triple to right. Two batters later, Mauer scored on Chris Parmelee's groundout to make it 3-2.
San Francisco responded swiftly in the home half when Pagan laced a leadoff triple and scored on Pence's grounder to short that Eduardo Escobar booted.
Minnesota nearly cut into the margin in the fourth when Gibson stepped to the plate with runners on the corners and one away. However, Gibson's grounder to third was smothered by Sandoval, who fired to the plate to retire Escobar.
After uncorking a wild pitch to put runners on second and third, Lincecum fanned Dozier to escape the frame unscathed.
Hicks stroked a two-out solo shot to left in the home half and added a sacrifice fly in the seventh to score Brandon Crawford, who opened the frame with a triple.
The Twins threatened again the eighth against Javier Lopez, as Escobar ripped a one-out double before Aaron Hicks walked.
Jean Machi then entered and induced an inning-ending double play from pinch- hitter Josmil Pinto before spinning a perfect ninth to nail down his second save of the season.