SAN DIEGO — The Freak is back.
Tim Lincecum tossed aside his recent struggles and pitched his first career no-hitter — the second no-hitter in the majors in 11 days. It was a gem saved by a spectacular diving catch by right fielder Hunter Pence in the Giants’ 9-0 win over the last-place Padres on Saturday night.
Lincecum has won two Cy Young Awards and two World Series rings. Now, he has something really remarkable — a no-hitter in which he threw a whopping, career-high 148 pitches.
“Right now, I think I’m just kind of coming down and don’t know where to be emotionally,” a calm Lincecum said.
The slightly built right-hander was in control from his first pitch until his last, which settled into left fielder Gregor Blanco‘s glove and set off a wild celebration in front of a pro-Giants crowd at Petco Park.
Catcher Buster Posey wrapped Lincecum (5-9) in a bear hug and lifted him off the ground. Lincecum was then mobbed by his teammates behind the mound and doused with water.
Blanco, who caught Yonder Alonso‘s fly ball to end the game, found Lincecum in the mob and handed him the ball.
Lincecum, who witnessed Jonathan Sanchez‘s no-hitter against San Diego in 2009 and Matt Cain‘s perfect game last year, was given a champagne shower by his teammates in the clubhouse.
“It’s pretty surreal for me just to be part of that,” Lincecum said. “Obviously, I got to see a couple with Jonathan’s and Cain’s perfect game, but to be in the middle of it is a little different. I think I’m still kind of pinching myself right now.”
Lincecum struck out 13. He walked four and hit a batter.