San Diego - All the San Francisco Giants really needed was a big dose of The Freak.
Tim Lincecum struck out 13 and held the San Diego Padres to one run and three hits in seven innings to lead the defending World Series champions to just their second win in six games, 8-4, on Wednesday night at Petco Park.
“Everybody kind of relaxed and just kind of went back to playing ball the right way, with a positive mentality,” Lincecum said.
Perhaps as impressive as his 13 strikeouts – two shy of his career high – was that Lincecum didn’t walk a batter.
He credited that to “having good rhythm, and sometimes I get out of that, and that’s when I fall into trouble. But I made sure everything was working right. I kind of used every one of my pitches, so that was good. I just tried to attack the zone as much as possible.”
Lincecum left with an 8-1 lead after seven. Closer Brian Wilson, activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, pitched the ninth in a non-save situation, allowing three runs on two infield singles and a walk.
The Padres made it interesting in the ninth. After Jeremy Affeldt relieved Wilson, Chase Headley hit a two-run double over center fielder Andres Torres’ head. Ramon Ramirez came on with the bases loaded and two outs and got Rob Johnson to fly out to center, earning his first save of the season.
Lincecum struck out 10 or more for the 27th time, tying Jason Schmidt for the second-most by a Giants pitcher since 1900. Christy Mathewson did it 28 times. Lincecum, the NL strikeout leader the last three seasons, has done it four times against the Padres, all at Petco Park.
Baffling the Padres with sliders, splitters and fastballs, The Freak struck out every San Diego regular except Nick Hundley, who hit a solo homer into the second deck in left field with one out in the third, his first. Lincecum struck out Brad Hawpe three times.
“He certainly pitched great today,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s a special talent, this kid, and he showed it again today.”
Lincecum (1-1) was the hard-luck loser in the season-opener Thursday night at Los Angeles, when he allowed an unearned run in a 2-1 defeat.
“You could tell he was on from the outset,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “He had all his weapons today.”