Lincecum's no-hitter just latest feat for reigning World Series champs
SAN DIEGO -- During his Major League career, Buster Posey has perfected the joyous sprint to the pitcher's mound.
He concluded his 2010 rookie season by racing to congratulate Brian Wilson on recording the final out of the World Series. Last year, he rushed to the hill at the conclusion of Matt Cain's perfect game. And, of course, Posey made another delirious dash from his catcher's crouch toward Sergio Romo to celebrate another Series-clinching out.
So when Posey advanced to the Petco Park mound Saturday night to give Tim Lincecum a congratulatory -- and blind-sided -- bear hug, the scene looked happily familiar.
"It doesn't get old," Posey said after Lincecum's no-hit triumph in the Giants' 9-0 decision over the San Diego Padres. "I don't think it ever will. I'm a fan of baseball. You try to soak up the moment as much as you can."
Posey called Lincecum's feat "a great accomplishment. You don't know if you'll get to be a part of it again."
When Carlos Quentin, the only Padres batter who didn't strike out, lined out to shortstop Brandon Crawford to end the sixth inning, Posey allowed himself to contemplate the notion that another no-hitter might ensue. Up to that point, he recognized that this wasn't an ordinary performance for Lincecum. The batterymates were meshing well.
"I think it was just a good tempo all night," Posey said. "We got in that groove. It's something that you can't really explain."
Lincecum appreciated Posey's collaboration. "It's really important to get in a rhythm with your catcher," Lincecum said.
Racking up pitches
Most pitches thrown in a no-hitter*
*Dating to 1947
Respect for Lincecum is widespread among the Giants, who watched him relinquish his starter's role and move to the bullpen without complaint during last year's postseason. To say that manager Bruce Bochy and his players felt ecstatic for Lincecum was an understatement.
"Good for Timmy," Bochy said. "He's had to deal with a lot in the last couple of years. It's great to have this happen for him, to be part of history. I couldn't be happier for him. To pitch not just a no-hitter, but [sustain] such a gutty effort."
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval has special appreciation for Lincecum, having played alongside the right-hander throughout his entire Major League career. "I'm happy for him to be coming back, the way he's thrown the ball the last couple of games," Sandoval said. "When I got here in the big leagues, he was throwing the ball like that."
Right fielder Hunter Pence knew Lincecum before the Giants acquired him from Philadelphia last year, since they share the same agent. They also dress in adjacent stalls in the home clubhouse at AT&T Park. Asked whether Lincecum's triumph struck a deeper chord with him, Pence hesitated in answering -- because, as he said, "I love all my teammates with everything I got." But, Pence added, "It's extremely special. I do spend a lot of time talking to him, I knew him before I came over here and I was excited to be on his team. It's just a great feeling to see him be able to do that."
As Pence spoke, the aroma of spilled champagne, much of which had been doused on Lincecum, filled the visitors' clubhouse.
"They were going crazy, as they should," Bochy said, recalling the celebration that unfolded before the media arrived. "It's history."