Tim Lincecum no-hits the Padres for the second time in less than a year

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For the second time in less than a year, Tim Lincecum has no-hit the San Diego Padres.

Unlike his effort last July 13, however, this one was an efficient, nothing-but-business affair. Whereas The Freak needed 148 pitches for last year’s effort, he did it in a mere 113 this afternoon, showing total command over all four of his pitches and never giving the Padres a chance in hell to do any damage. San Diego managed one walk — Chase Headley drew it in the second inning — but were otherwise kept off the basepaths. Heck, Lincecum himself had a way better offensive game than his opponents did: he walked once and had two hits.

Lincecum cruised from beginning to end. He needed only 26 pitches in the eighth and ninth innings combined, inducing weak grounders and striking guys out for the most part. Trying to make something happen, the Padres sent up two pinch hitters to start the ninth inning, Chris Donorfia in place of eight hitter Rene River and Yasmani Grandal in the pitcher’s slot. Donorfia struck out and was thrown out at first when Hector Sanchez couldn’t handle strike three. Grandal took the count full but then bounced one back harmlessly to Lincecum who underhanded it to Buster Posey at first for the second out. That brought up Will Venable he took it to 1-2 and then grounded out harmlessly to second. And with that Lincecum had his second career no-hitter.

It’s been a pretty rocky few years for Lincecum. While his Giants won the World Series, 2012 was the worst year of his career, leading the NL in losses and posting an ERA well over 5. After last year’s no-hitter he was shelled pretty frequently and ended the season with a 10-14 record and a 4.37 ERA. Coming in to today, Lincecum was 5-5 with a 4.90 ERA and was allowing more baserunners per inning than he ever had in his major league career.

But whether it is muscle memory from his days of being the NL’s best pitcher, the poor offense of today’s competition or some combination of both, today Lincecum was untouchable.

The final out:

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.