I woke up in a very good mood Saturday morning. But I wasn’t ready for the Freak.
The sun was actually shining in Daly City, something that hadn’t happened since the evening of July 4. I was having a good hair day and the Giants were coming off a 10-1 win over the San Diego Padres the night before, winning three games in a row for the first time since May 10-12 which is too-damn-long.
With all of that, I still wasn’t prepared for 12 strikeouts in 148 pitches of sheer awesome, courtesy of No. 55.
Think about that for a second: 148 pitches. 96 of those pitches were strikes. That’s a lot of throws down the pipe, by any pitcher’s standards.
Let alone a down-and-out two-time Cy Young Award winner standing a little over six feet tall and weighing in at under 160 pounds who hadn’t notched a win since and was possibly headed for bullpen duty if he didn’t clean up his act.
Tim Lincecum with the no-hitter. Who woulda thunk it?
Sure, San Francisco’s offense was on fire. After a few weeks of stranding men on base and barley coming up with a run to spare, the Giants exploded down in SoCal.
On Saturday night, Brandon Belt’s homer — a much-needed hit for the first baseman — gave the Giants the 4-0 lead before the meat of the batting order knocked line drives into every gap in the Padres’ fielding. That alone could have been the highlight of the game.
But the first no hitter at Petco Park? The second roadie no-hitter in Giants history? The offense was going to have to take a back seat to Tim Lincecum and the defense that played behind him.
It was a performance that even members of the press couldn’t help but applaud:
Have to admit, I abandoned my professionalism and was applauding at end. Hey, I paid for my ticket! I was entitled. Tim deserved it.
— Mark Purdy (@MercPurdy) July 14, 2013
Pablo Sandoval found his defensive stride, gunning a long ball across the infield to Belt with impeccable ease to close out the seventh.
But the catch of the night easily went to Hunter Pence, whose bound and dive in the bottom of the eighth robbed Alexi Amarista of a possible single.
Reminiscent of Gregor Blanco’s belly flop to preserve Matt Cain’s perfect game, perhaps? We’ll let you decide that one.
Now don’t get too caught up in the glitz, because the Giants still have a long way to go. They’re still below .500, 6-1/2 games out of first place in the NL West and have a whole second half of a baseball season ahead of them.
But three consecutive wins and a ho-hitter from the Freaky Franchise? The possibility of a pivotal turn-around for the 2013 regular season?
Admit it, you didn’t wake up this morning prepared for that one either.