San Francisco’s Tim Linecum has pitched hitless relief in this World Series. (Dilip Vishwanat/Associated Press)

When the San Francisco Giants won the 2010 World Series, the pitcher they sent to the mound for the clinching Game 5 was Tim Lincecum, and the two-time Cy Young Award winner delivered a stellar eight-inning, one-run, 10-strikeout performance to bring San Francisco its first title.

Just two years later, Lincecum’s role was wholly different: a reliever who put behind an uneven season and looked, at times, dominant in the playoffs. When the Detroit Tigers threatened in Game 3, Lincecum came on in relief of starter Ryan Vogelsong to get the final out of the sixth inning, then pitched the seventh and eighth without allowing a hit.

In two World Series appearances, Lincecum allowed one base runner — a walk — in 42 / 3 innings, striking out eight.

“Just being able to contribute is the biggest thing for me,” said Lincecum, who went 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA in the regular season. “I know this season I didn’t do exactly what I wanted to do, so to go out there and just to be able to do something for the team, whether that’s for two innings or an inning or four innings, that’s really my goal.”

The Giants are adamant that Lincecum will be part of their rotation again in 2013, despite the fact he gave up one run in 13 postseason innings as a reliever, with two walks and 17 strikeouts.

“Hopefully, his confidence has grown so much through what he’s done and realizes, again, how good he is,” Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said. “We all have our down years. I don’t know what good or great athlete hasn’t had an up-and-down year, and Timmy had to go through it this year.

“It’s nice to see him throwing the ball the way he is at the end here.”

Cabrera didn’t stick around

After he went 1 for 4 with a single and a key bases-loaded popup in Game 3, Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera — who earlier Saturday had been honored with the Hank Aaron Award as the American League’s best offensive player and received a special trophy in recognition of winning the Triple Crown — left Comerica Park without speaking to reporters about his performance.

Tigers Manager Jim Leyland said he would check into whether Cabrera had a family issue, and he would discuss accountability with Cabrera.

“We’re all big boys, and you’ve got to face [the media] whether you like it or not,” Leyland said. “You can’t just be here when everything is going well. That’s our responsibility.” . . .

Detroit catcher Alex Avila was scratched from the Game 4 lineup with soreness in his wrist, an injury originally suffered when he absorbed a foul tip in Game 1. He was replaced by Gerald Laird, who served as part of a platoon with Avila during the year.