Starting the third game of a series versus the San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum (along with Milwaukee Brewers’ CC Sabathia) led the MLB with 225 strikeouts.
From the moment he stepped on the mound, the baby-faced pitcher showed he was ready to add to that total.
In the first inning, Lincecum struck out the Padres’ Will Venable, Luis Rodriguez, walked Brian Giles, then finished the inning by striking out Adrian Gonzalez. He repeated the process in the seventh, when he struck out Gonzalez again, Kevin Kouzmanoff, walked Edgar Gonzalez, and then struck out Drew Macias.
From the spectacular view from my living-room couch, the crowd at Petco Park seemed to be pro-Giants. The stands were heavily seasoned with fans decked out in Giants gear, which was amusing. With such a mix of fans, the game remained exciting, despite the look of current standings in the NL West.
The roar of the crowd was on Lincecum’s side in the seventh inning, as he bunted with the intention of moving Omar Vizquel to second base and ended up on first on an error by the Padres catcher, Nick Hundley
Later that inning, with Nate Schierholtz at the plate, Sandoval was tagged by a foul ball as he stood in the on-deck circle. Lincecum was silencing the Padres with his skillful pitches, but “Little Money” also walked away with a beating.
In the ninth inning, a knuckleball from the Padres’ Charlie Haeger hit him on the ankle. However, it was the hit Sandoval received earlier in the game that will haunt him for a bit longer, surely his teammates will make sure of it.
In the ninth, “The Freak” struggled to get the third out, as A. Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff singled. Edgar Gonzalez ended the game by being Lincecum’s last strikeout victim.
As Lincecum led his team to a 7-0 victory versus the Padres, he also helped the team move up to third place in the NL West—it's the first time the Giants occupied that spot since the All-Star Break.
At the end of the night, the crowd clearly cheered for the Giants and Lincecum. The applause was well deserved, as Lincecum threw 138 pitches (86 strikes), gave up only four hits, and struck out 12 batters, as he recorded his first complete game shutout of his career.
The future is looking quite delicious for the young San Francisco Giants.