Although the two-time Cy Young Award winner struggled this season, Tim Lincecum threw his first career no-hitter in San Diego tonight. Striking out 13 in a 9-0 win over the Padres, Lincecum stands as the 15th Giant to perform such a feat. And what a feat it was.
Bryan Murphy of McCovey Chronicles poignantly explains why this no-hitter was so important:
And so tonight we are witness to a near-catharsis. Tim Lincecum's 148-pitch no hitter served many masters: our long-standing expectations of The Freak, a dying team in need of a glimmer of hope, and most importantly, a pitcher who knew he had it in him but hadn't quite yet proved it to himself, his fans, or his naysayers. If you think Tim Lincecum didn't need this the I'd accuse you of being completely out of touch with a competitive mindset. A no-hitter is not a perfect game, of course, but it is a stunning accomplishment for a pitcher and it is yet another one for Lincecum to add to his resume, mantle, or heck, even his self-esteem. It has to feel good for him to know that he still has "it" and can still do something amazing on a baseball field. This was a guy who couldn't be counted on to start a baseball game approximately nine months ago, and now this.
Shortly after the no-hitter came to an end at Petco Park--where, in the audience, Giants love was in no short supply--Buster Posey came in behind to give Lincecum a big ol' air-lifting bear hug. (Also of note? A spectacular diving catch by Hunter Pence.) A great night for your San Francisco Giants and, especially, for Lincecum. See for yourself:
Previously: Matt Cain Throws A Perfect Game