SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tim Lincecum followed his second career no-hitter with another vintage performance, pitching eight sharp innings to lead the San Francisco Giants past the St. Louis Cardinals 5-0 on Tuesday night.
Lincecum (7-5) allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two. He worked out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the fourth and stayed out of trouble the rest of the way, helping San Francisco snap a four-game losing streak since his latest gem against San Diego.
Pablo Sandoval hit his 100th career homer to cap a three-run fourth, and the Giants scored twice in the fifth to chase Marco Gonzales (0-1) in the left-hander’s second career start.
Gonzales gave up five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. St. Louis has lost three straight and four of five.
Lincecum left after throwing 113 pitches, including 73 for strikes. Jean Machi pitched a scoreless ninth.
The Cardinals faced a pitcher with a no-hitter this season for the third time in five games. After Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw led the Los Angeles Dodgers to victories over St. Louis, Allen Craig singled with one out in the second to put an early end to Lincecum’s bid for another no-hitter.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, who has shown signs of returning to his dominant form of late, showed the poise and polish of his younger days even when things started to go awry.
Lincecum loaded the bases in the fourth before striking out Craig and Jon Jay and getting Daniel Descalso to ground out. Lincecum pounded his glove and received a standing ovation from the announced sellout crowd of 41,152.
San Francisco supplied all the support Lincecum needed in the bottom of the inning. Buster Posey’s double drove in a run before Sandoval’s wind-aided fly carried just over the wall in left to give San Francisco a 3-0 lead.
Hunter Pence hit an RBI double and Hector Sanchez drove in another run in the fifth to put the Giants up 5-0.
The performance from San Francisco’s leading men — Lincecum, Sandoval, Posey and Pence — was a welcome turnaround to the team’s fans. The Giants entered the game 1-6 on their homestand, including four straight losses to Cincinnati for the first time San Francisco had been swept in a four-game series at its waterfront ballpark, which opened in 2000.
The Giants had not scored at least five runs since June 21.
NOTES: Giants CF Angel Pagan is scheduled to be examined by a specialist in Los Angeles on Wednesday after having a setback in his recovery from a back injury while running. Pagan said he has a bulging disk in his back that is pinching a nerve and causing pain in his legs. .... The Cardinals recalled top prospect Oscar Taveras and started him in RF, giving Matt Holliday a day off. Taveras went 0 for 3 with a walk. ... Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (10-4, 2.01 ERA) starts opposite Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (5-4, 3.96 ERA) on Wednesday.