Jul 13, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) celebrates with teammates after throwing a no hitter against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. The Giants won 9-0. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
SAN DIEGO — The reality show that Tim Lincecum staged Saturday night 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.
“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.
“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.”
Lincecum squeezed all the juice out of the Padres’ bats as 40,342 fans stood and chanted for the right-hander 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.
Lincecum, who was mobbed by his teammates, pitched the 15th no-hitter in Giants history, the seventh in the franchise’s San Francisco era. 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.
“Unbelievable. What was impressive was how much better he got deep in the game,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Lincecum. “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 (43-50), who won their third in a row, can sweep the four-game series on Sunday with a win over the reeling Padres (41-54), who dropped their 14th game in 15 outings and their 18th out of the last 21.
Sandoval’s RBI double to right center with two outs in the first inning scored Buster 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.”
NOTES: The Giants purchased the contract of OF Jeff Francoeur from Triple-A Fresno on Saturday. Francoeur joined the club Saturday in San Diego, where he is expected to start in Sunday’s game. To make room, the Giants designated RHP Chris Heston for assignment. … RHP Santiago Casilla was activated on Saturday by San Francisco. Casilla had been on the disabled list since May 21 and was recovering from surgery to remove a bone cyst near his right knee. … Giants RHP Jean Machi and INF Nick Noonan were optioned to Triple-A Fresno on Saturday.