ATLANTA (AP) — Tim Lincecum isn’t lacking confidence even if his statistics are below average.
“Every outing I go out there, I know I can take some positives from it and try not to lean on the negatives so much,” he said, “because that kind of focus can lead to some compounding issues.”
Lincecum lost his second straight start, and left fielder Andres Torres cost him an unearned run in the sixth inning of San Francisco’s 3-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night.
Freddie Freeman singled three times and drove in one run for Atlanta, which got six innings from Julio Teheran to win its second straight and take the three-game series.
San Francisco, the defending World Series champion, has lost 14 of its last 20 on the road.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy was proud of how Lincecum competed despite falling behind 2-0 after the second and getting no run support.
“I think it says a lot about how he gutted it out and found a way to get on track,” Bochy said. “He kept us in the game. It was a great job by him. He was having a hard time getting the ball where he wanted at times early in the game, but got better as he went.”
Braves closer Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 19th save in 22 chances. Kimbrel struck out Torres and Joaquin Arias before retiring Nick Noonan on a flyout.
Freeman, who began the night hitless in 11 career appearances against Lincecum, singled in his first three at-bats and improved his average to .456 with runners in scoring position — third-best in the majors.
One night after he drove in the winning run off Giants closer Sergio Romo, Freeman made it 1-0 in the first when his RBI single scored Andrelton Simmons from second.
Freeman’s single in the third moved Justin Upton to second. The next batter, B.J. Upton, drove in his brother Justin from second to put Atlanta up 2-0.
Lincecum (4-7) gave up six hits and five walks in six innings. Two of his three runs were earned, and he struck out three.
“Some of those pitches I left up that Freeman hit, they’re kind of mistake pitches that just shouldn’t happen — like that 0-2 pitch in the first inning,” Lincecum said. “Other than that, I felt good. My rhythm was good, but just a couple of guys got away from me here and there, especially leadoff batters. That will hurt you, which they did.”
Teheran (5-3) allowed seven hits and one walk. The 22-year-old struck out eight and benefited from stellar plays by outfielders Jason Heyward and Justin Upton in the fourth, and by Simmons at shortstop in the sixth that kept a run from scoring with the Braves holding a two-run lead.
Torres, San Francisco’s left fielder, hurt his team in the bottom of the sixth when Ramiro Pena’s single appeared to bounce off his right foot and toward the wall.
Pena, who reached third on Torres’ two-base fielding error, scored when pinch-hitter Jordan Schafer drove him in with a sacrifice squeeze bunt to make it 3-0.
“I feel terrible,” Torres said. “When those kinds of things happen, you don’t feel good, you know? You try to help, but at the same time, we’re human. We make mistakes.”
Teheran struggled in his previous outing, a 7-6 loss at San Diego last Monday, but he beat the Giants for the second time in two starts against them since May 9.
Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, has lost six of his last nine starts and has a 6.69 ERA in those losses.
“You go out there and work on (timing) in between innings with your warm-up pitches,” Lincecum said. “That’s the frustrating part when you can’t just repeat it. Then you have to grind and make better pitches to the next guy, you know?”
Luis Avilan and Jordan Walden pitched scoreless innings for Atlanta in the seventh and eighth.
Jose Mijares and rookie Jake Dunning, who made his major league debut, held the Braves to one hit in the seventh and eighth.
Notes: Giants CF Angel Pagan said before the game that he’s still hoping to avoid surgery on his left hamstring. Pagan took a platelet-rich plasma injection behind his knee last Sunday and is still unable to run the bases. He’s missed 20 straight games with the injury. … The Giants’ 6-5 loss Saturday was their first when leading after eight innings since July 4, 2012 at Washington. … San Francisco 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the disabled list with a strained left foot, holds a narrow lead over Mets 3B David Wright in balloting for the July 16 All-Star Game in New York.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.