Lincecum fans 14 batters, Giants coast to Game 1 victory

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It wasn’t a no-hitter, but Tim Lincecum was about as dominant as it gets on Thursday night in San Francisco as the Giants captured Game 1 of the NLDS by a score of 1-0 over the Braves.

Racking up a postseason franchise record 14 strikeouts over nine innings of work, the 26-year-old from Bellevue, Washington carved through Atlanta’s lineup with ease.  He allowed just two hits — a double to Omar Infante, a double to Brian McCann — and walked only one batter.

Lincecum, the 2008 and 2009 National League Cy Young Award winner, didn’t
have the best 2010 regular season and finished up on September 29 with a
relatively pedestrian 3.43 ERA over 33 starts.  That’s all in the
past now.  Lincecum is still “The Freak,” or “The Franchise,” or whatever you want to call him.

But, again, the umpiring is going to dominate the night’s headlines.  The Giants plated their lone run largely because of a blown stolen base call in the bottom of the fourth inning that put rookie catcher Buster Posey into scoring position and allowed him to cross home plate a few batters later.

Had the right call been made, the game probably would have moved to extra innings at a 0-0 tie and Lincecum surely wouldn’t have gone the distance.

Alas, the Giants boast a 1-0 lead in the five-game series.

Sean Manaea pitches first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.