San Diego, CA – Tim Lincecum regained Cy Young form on Saturday night in the shape of his first career no-hitter.
The 29-year-old has struggled for most of the last three seasons, but put forth a brilliant performance in striking out a season-best 13 batters while tossing the 15th no-hitter in San Francisco Giants history in a 9-0 win over the San Diego Padres.
Lincecum (5-9) labored through a 148-pitch performance -- 10 more than his career high -- and received some excellent defense from the guys behind him to finish off the second no-hitter of this MLB season. Homer Bailey of the Reds tossed the first earlier in the month on July 2.
The righty had entered as a loser in his last four decisions, but couldn't have imagined a better way to end the streak.
"I felt fine out there from the first pitch," said Lincecum. "Maybe just a little sweaty."
Lincecum's only blemishes were four walks and a hit batsman. It's the first no-hitter for a Giants starter since Matt Cain threw the franchise's first perfect game in June of last year -- and the team's third since 2009.
A rejuvenated San Francisco offense provided plenty of support, with Hunter Pence hitting a homer and driving in five runs. Brandon Belt smacked a two-run shot and had three RBI, while Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval each had three hits.
The Giants were averaging 2.4 runs per contest in losing 14 of 16 prior to arriving in San Diego, but have scored 23 times in winning the first three tilts of this four-game set.
Edison Volquez (6-8) was torched for eight of the runs on Saturday. He gave up nine hits over five innings as the Padres continued to slide in a downward trend. They've now lost 18 of their last 21 games.
"The team is pissed off, we're not swinging the bats," Padres manager Bud Black said. "We're not pitching. We're not playing the way that we can play."
Sandoval had two doubles and knocked in the game's first run in the opening inning, while Pence added a three-run triple during a four-run fifth that broke the game open.
Each player also made huge plays defensively to keep the no-no alive.
Sandoval got Lincecum through seven innings with a stop deep in the hole at third on Jesus Guzman's ground ball. He rifled the throw to first to beat Guzman by a full step and get his pitcher six outs away.
On his 131st pitch, Lincecum received a spectacular catch from Pence in right to keep the bid going. On his horse, Pence snagged a sinking line drive off the bat of Alexi Amarista to end the eighth.
"I thought that was a hit, but Hunter comes flying out of nowhere and makes the Superman catch," Lincecum said.
Lincecum recorded his 13th strikeout by fanning Chase Headley to start the ninth, then cemented his place in history by getting both Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso to fly out.
The back-to-back NL Cy Young Award winner in 2008 and 2009 was rushed and mobbed by his teammates, with the visiting crowd giving a standing ovation in appreciation of the rare occurrence.
Its the first no-hitter in Petco Park history, with the Padres the only team in the majors to never throw one themselves. They were on the wrong end of a no-no against the Giants back in 2009 as well, when Jonathan Sanchez accomplished the feat.
Posey, Sandoval, Pence and Belt combined for all 10 of the Giants' hits ... San Francisco has won five straight against the Padres for the first time since a six-game run in 2006 ... It's Lincecum's first road win since April 3 against the Dodgers in his season debut ... Volquez has given up 17 runs over his last three home starts.