Former Lee County star and Giants catcher Buster Posey is the first to congratulate Tim Lincecum late Saturday after the right-hander threw his first career no-hitter, making Posey the 48th catcher in MLB history to catch multiple no-hitters,
SAN DIEGO — The reality show that Tim Lincecum staged Saturday night against the Padres had a “surreal” feel to it. Less than an hour after Lincecum pitched the first no-hitter at Petco Park, it still seemed like a dream to him.
“It’s pretty surreal for me to just be part of that,” said Lincecum, who threw the second no-hitter in the majors this season after Homer Bailey’s no-no on July 2 against the Giants.
Lincecum’s no-no was the 15th in Giants history and seventh since the team moved to San Francisco, and it made Lee County native and reigning NL MVP Buster Posey the first to catch two no-hitters for the San Francisco Giants.
Posey was the first to get to Lincecum after the final out, greeting the right-hander, who threw an eye-popping 148 pitches, with an enthusiastic bear hug.
“You don’t see a pitcher up over 140 pitches in a no-hitter often. You get fatigued,” Posey told reporters. “It takes a toll on your body, so for him to be able to continue to execute pitches is remarkable.”
The feud that Posey and Lincecum have long been rumored to have was nowhere to be found late Saturday as the duo celebrated along with the rest of the Giants on the pitcher’s mound.
“Yeah, it looked like we were so angry at each other when he picked me up on the mound,” a smiling Lincecum told the San Jose Mercury News.
Lincecum squeezed all the juice out of the Padres’ bats as 40,342 fans stood and chanted for him to seal the deal. Yonder Alonso’s fly ball to left capped it as the Giants rolled in a 9-0 rout of the Padres.
“Obviously, I’ve gotten to see a couple with Jonathan (Sanchez) and (Matt) 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,” Lincecum said. “It feels good. But right now I don’t think I’ve really taken in the whole idea of what just happened. Like I said, I’m still pinching myself.”
It was the eighth no-hitter against the Padres, the last one coming when Sanchez no-hit them on July 10, 2009, at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Cain’s perfect game occurred on June 13, 2012, against the Houston Astros.
Posey, who wasn’t shaken off by Cain once in last year’s perfect game, is now the 48th catcher in MLB history to catch multiple no-hitters.
“I think (Lincecum) was pretty aggressive in the zone, but he knew when to expand at the right time,” Posey told MLB.com. “I think that was a big part of it.
“With the ups and downs, he’s had a good attitude. He’s continued to work. This is a reward for it.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy was equally impressed.
“Unbelievable. What was impressive was how much better he got deep in the game. Believe me, I was thinking about where he was with the pitch count. But he was under control and even got better with his delivery and command. He just had that eye in the tiger look.”
Lincecum (5-9) struck out 13 and walked four on 148 pitches (96 for strikes). He also hit San Diego’s Jedd Gyorko with a pitch.
Hunter Pence homered and drove in five runs and kept Lincecum’s no-hitter alive with a diving catch of a sinking liner by Alexi Amarista to right to end the eighth inning. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval also helped preserve it by making a standout play on a groundout by Jesus Guzman in the seventh.
But Pence’s generated more drama.
“You’ve got to have all your chips in at that point,” Pence said. “Anything hit you’ve got to give everything you can to make a catch. I just laid out and reached out as far as I could and happened to just get there.
“The whole game in itself was one of the greatest feelings and greatest things to be a part of. It was just incredible to be a part of. It’s very special.”
Bochy said he didn’t believe Pence could make the catch.
“I didn’t think he had a chance,” Bochy said. “I thought it was a base hit and (Lincecum) was coming out of the game at that point. What a great play he made there. When you throw a no-hitter, it’s the whole club coming together, and they did preserve that for him. Everyone is so happy for Timmy.”
“That was really special,” Lincecum said of Pence’s catch. “To be honest, I thought that was a hit off the bat. But Hunter comes flying out of nowhere and makes a superman catch.”
Brandon Belt homered and had three RBIs as the Giants’ offense hammered Padres pitching for the second consecutive game. The Giants romped 10-1 on Friday night.
Edinson Volquez (6-8) was tagged for eight runs and nine hits on 107 pitches (69 for strikes) in five innings. He struck out six and walked one.
The Giants, who had their three-game winnings streak snapped Sunday in a loss to the Padres head into the All-Star break in fourth place in the NL West.
Sandoval’s RBI double to right center with two outs in the first inning scored Posey for a 1-0 Giants lead. The Giants just kept hammering away.
In the fourth, they added three runs. Posey led off with a ground-rule double to left and scored on a groundout by Pence for a 2-0 advantage with one out.
Belt followed and drilled a 2-2 pitch by Volquez 414 feet into the sandbox in right center for a two-run homer and a 4-0 Giants lead. It was Belt’s 10th home run of the season.
The Giants added four runs in the fifth and another in the eighth on Pence’s homer.
“I was pretty much speechless,” Lincecum said when he reached the locker room and briefly addressed his teammates, who doused him with champagne. “I just said that was awesome.”