Giants Avoid Sweep Behind Lincecum’s No-Hitter

Photo by John Green

Photo by John Green

San Francisco, CA – The Padres pitching the last two nights was simply outstanding. But today, Tim Lincecum’s performance was another mark for the history books as he calmly tossed his second career no-hitter. The Giants avoided the sweep and got the win they desperately needed as San Diego was shutout 4-0.

“A remarkable performance, it was like watching an artist,” San Francisco’s manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had everything working, he had great concentration and great focus. We needed this win.”

It was an unforgettable outing marking the team’s 16th no-hitter in the Giants franchise history and was the eighth “no-no” in San Francisco-era history. Lincecum is the second pitcher to throw two no-hitters against the same team (no-hit on July 13, 2013 at San Diego). He joins Christy Mathewson as the only pitchers to throw multiple no-hitters in a Giants uniform.

Lincecum is also the second pitcher to toss more than one no-hitter against the same team in the Majors. Right-handed pitcher Addie Joss threw two no-hitters, a perfect game on Oct 2, 1908 and a no-hitter on April 20, 1910, both against the Chicago White Sox.

“Anytime your name is alongside any of the Giants greats that have come through and put on this uniform, is a blessing,” said Lincecum.

By the fifth inning, it was clear Lincecum had not allowed one hi. Had he not walked Chase Headley in the second he would’ve tossed a perfect game. The Padres had no answer for Lincecum, no one mustered a single hit or even came close. San Francisco’s defense was stellar as they backed their ace.

“I didn’t feel like my stuff was great,” Lincecum said. “The more my pitches were down the more movement I had, and I was getting the ground balls that I needed and the weak pop flies. So I was leaning on that. I didn’t feel like it was a ‘stuff’ day, I felt like it was a location day.”

Lincecum seemed calm and prepared unlike any other start. Along with his catcher, Hector Sanchez, the pair were in synch and together. Earlier in the day, the righty pulled Sanchez aside to discuss things he expected and what his plan was. Lincecum stated he always calls a meeting with his catcher prior to him taking the mound, but this day was different.

“I always do my studying before the game, just to get an idea of what I want to do to these guys, and on the day that I pitch I just want to go over with him [Sanchez] and make sure we’re on the same page,” he explained.

“You never think about the outcome of the game in the moment,” said Sanchez. “Anything can happen in the game so, I called the right pitches and was thinking he’s doing an amazing job plus he was pitching down in the zone.”

Lincecum was more than dialed in with a plan, he also contributed on offense. The Giants found their at-bats that had been missing for the last few days. Brandon Crawford tripled and scored on Sanchez’s sacrifice fly in the second making it a 1-0 game. Pablo Sandoval doubled on a line drive to center field and Lincecum scored.

“When I got my hits, I knew it was a special day,” Lincecum said.

“It was the Tim Lincecum Show with him hitting twice,” said Bochy.

On the day that the two-time Cy Young Award Winner pitched his second no-hitter, he also hit two singles. Lincecum leadoff both the fourth and seventh frames sparking the offense. Buster Posey doubled scoring in both Lincecum and Hunter Pence giving the righty a pair of insurance runs which he greatly needed in the seventh. Posey recorded a season-high four hits, with three singles and a double.

“Not too many people throw multiple no-hitters in their career, it was fun to be apart,” Posey said. “You know it’s funny, in the fifth we had two outs and I looked at the scoreboard and saw there wasn’t a hit, I didn’t realize it, until that point.”

“I don’t think I’m ever out there thinking this can happen,” Pence said. “They don’t have a hit and I’m here ready to play defense.”

The last three times San Diego had been no-hit was against the Giants, two of the contests were facing Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez on July 10, 2009 at AT&T Park. This is the 10th time the Padres have been held hitless in a game. No one thought they would end the series by going scoreless for nine innings but history repeated itself once again.

“Coming off last night’s win, it looked like we had some momentum, said Padres manager Bud Black. “Some guys were starting to swing better but it goes to show that a starting pitcher can shut it down.”

“You always think a no-hitter is going to be broken up sometime,” Ian Kennedy said.”

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