Tim Lincecum threw his first no-hitter on Saturday, allowing the Giants to beat the Padres 9-0. While Lincecum’s struggles so far this season threatened to banish him to the Giants’ bullpen, its likely his performance Saturday night will sway the vote in his favor.
Lincecum is a two-time Cy Young Award winner and a free agent after this season. Before Saturday, he hadn’t recorded an out in the eighth inning of any start so far this season.
Thankfully, his luck changed. Lincecum dominated against the Padres, recording 14 strikeouts and throwing a career-high 148 pitches in the victory. In a post-game interview, the 29-year-old commented, “I’m kind of speechless right now.”
While he will be a free agent, it’s likely Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter will significantly increase his marketability. While he was far from perfect on Saturday, his performance shows the signs that “The Freak” could be returning to his dominant self.
Lincecum walked four and hit a batter on Saturday, but was helped by fantastic defensive plays from Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence. And the pitcher (and manager Bruce Bochy) didn’t even care he had made 138 pitches by the ninth inning. Bochy added, “He wouldn’t have talked to me the rest of the year if I’d have taken him out.”
Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Pence was able to catch Alexi Amarista’s sinking line-drive with a dive, effectively ending the eighth inning. Lincecum was seen pumping his fist as Pence jumped up with the ball in his glove. The pitcher recalled:
“I thought for sure it was a hit. You see Hunter flying out of nowhere making the flying grab. That was really impressive, a big play for us.”
Before Saturday night, Lincecum’s last win was June 4 against Toronto. His last on the road win was April 3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
After his first-ever no-hitter, Tim Lincecum commented, “I’m feeling pretty good. But I don’t think I’ve really taken in the whole idea of what just happened.”