SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Cody Ross hit a game-ending RBI single in the ninth inning, Tim Lincecum pitched another gem and the San Francisco Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.
Ross’ line-drive single down the third base line off David Hernandez (2-1), scoring pinch-runner Darren Ford from second and sending the Giants pouring out of the dugout in celebration for their third last at-bat win in four games.
Lincecum struck out nine and took a no-hitter into the sixth in another dominating start for the two-time NL Cy Young Award, giving San Francisco back-to-back shutouts and spoiling a stellar outing by Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy. It was also the first time Arizona has been held scoreless this season.
Brian Wilson (3-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.
Buster Posey led off the ninth with a four-pitch walk. He was lifted for Ford, who stole second so easily that catcher Miguel Montero didn’t even contest with a throw.
Hernandez rallied by striking out Aubrey Huff before Ross sent a line drive past diving third baseman Melvin Mora for another thrilling late-inning victory that is becoming all too common again for the defending World Series champions. The Giants have five walk-off wins already this year.
For most of the game, though, this was a pitcher’s duel.
The first hard hit ball of the night didn’t even count when Chris Young missed a home run by mere inches in the fifth, when he scorched a fastball from Lincecum that barely cleared the left-field wall and somehow missed striking the foul pole. Instead, Young later popped out to center field.
Leave it to the most unlikely candidate to finally snap Lincecum’s streak.
Kennedy sent a groundball up the middle for a clean single with one out in the sixth for his first hit of the season, snapping an 0-for-13 skid at the plate. Melvin Johnson added a line-drive single to left with two outs before Justin Upton flied out to right.
At a time when no-hitters are becoming commonplace, the feat has eluded San Francisco’s ace.
Lincecum has twice taken a no-hitter into the seventh, including earlier this year at Coloroado. In that outing April 18, Carlos Gonzalez singled with one out in the seventh before the Giants held on for an 8-1 victory.
His counterpart wasn’t quite as dominate but equally effective.
Kennedy struck out eight and allowed four hits in eight innings and managed to wiggle his way out of jams. The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the fourth before Kennedy recovered, striking out Ross and getting Mark DeRosa to ground into a double play.
Kennedy didn’t allow another baserunner until Freddy Sanchez’s one-out single in the eighth, even breaking the strings on Montero’s glove on his 115th pitch.
NOTES: The outing was the 19th time Lincecum has pitched at least seven innings without giving up a run. … Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval fielded groundballs for the first time since he had surgery to repair a broken bone in his right wrist two weeks ago. He was still wearing a cast and is expected to be out at least another four weeks. … Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, third base coach Matt Williams and bullpen coach Glenn Sherlock spent part of the off day Monday riding San Francisco’s famous cable cars. … Giants reliever Santiago Casilla threw about 35 pitches against hitters before the game. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Casilla will make at least one rehab start. The club was deciding where that outing will be.
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