SAN DIEGO - Tim Lincecum has two Cy Young Awards and two World Series titles, but he has never been better than he was Saturday night.
Lincecum threw his first career no-hitter at Petco Park, striking out 13 San Diego Padres in a 9-0 victory. The no-hitter was the third in the last five seasons for the Giants.
Lincecum threw 148 pitches, 10 more than his previous career-high.
Lincecum, who has struggled for a year and a half, had shown flashes of his old self in his last seven starts and struck out 11 against the New York Mets on Monday.
He started to dominate in the second inning Saturday, striking out Will Venable and Rene Rivera on six pitches. That started a streak of six straight strikeouts on just 21 pitches.
Lincecum retired 12 straight before Everth Cabrera drew a one-out walk in the sixth. Lincecum entered the inning with 98 pitches, and when he walked Chase Headley with two outs, manager Bruce Bochy got his bullpen going. But Lincecum got a lineout to short to get out of the jam.
He struck out Yonder Alonso to open the seventh and then got Jedd Gyorko to fly out to left field.
With two outs, Venable hit a screamer down the third-base line that Pablo Sandoval corralled before making a strong throw to first.
Lincecum had twice before taken a no-hitter into the seventh but had never gotten through the inning.
In the eighth, he got his pitch count under control with a three-pitch strikeout of Rene Rivera and a two-pitch groundout by Chris Denorfia.
Lincecum walked Cabrera and then went to a 2-2 count on Alexi Amarista. The center fielder lined Lincecum's 131st pitch into right field, but Hunter Pence saved the no-hitter with a diving catch.
Lincecum struck out Headley to open the ninth, and Carlos Quentin hit his 142nd pitch for an out to deep left. Alonso hit the final pitch of the night to left, setting off a raucous celebration.