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:

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.