Matt Slocum/APGiants pitcher Tim Lincecum

Lincecum finally gets into game, but exits with stiff back

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Banished to the bullpen and absent from the mound since the regular season, Tim Lincecum returned Wednesday night with the Giants trailing the Royals by five runs in the seventh inning.

And then he got hurt.

After retiring five straight batters during San Francisco's 7-2 loss in Game 2 of the World Series, Lincecum left in the middle of Salvador Perez's eighth-inning at-bat due to tightness in his lower left back.

“We're just going to treat it, see how it feels tomorrow,” Lincecum said. “But right now it feels pretty stiff.”

The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner went 2-0 as the Giants beat Texas in the 2010 Series for their first title since 1954. Sent to the bullpen, he pitched 4 2-3 scoreless innings in 2012 during San Francisco's sweep of Detroit.

Lincecum pitched his second career no-hitter against San Diego on June 25 but struggled after the All-Star break and was dropped from the rotation in late August. He hadn't pitched at all since the regular-season finale on Sept. 28.

On Tuesday, he missed pregame introductions before opener, failing to line up with his teammates on the third-base side of the field because he was in the clubhouse vomiting.

“My trainer, Dave Groeschner, he said he got sick about a half-hour before the game and he was throwing up,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He rebounded very well. He was OK to pitch.”

Bochy wasn't sure whether the issue was caused by food.

“I don't know if he knows,” he said. “He was down in the bullpen, I think, the second inning.”

Lincecum wasn't certain whether he would be available for Game 3 on Friday night. Before the injury, he was happy with his outing. He struck out Eric Hosmer and Josh Willingham.

“It felt good just to get out there,” Lincecum said.

Despite the loss, the Giants felt good about the split in Kansas City.

“Taking one of two games here is always a good thing,” Lincecum said, “especially against these guys in this kind of atmosphere.”

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