SAN FRANCISCO -- Several observers were surprised Wednesday that Giants starter Tim Lincecum was pulled for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning despite having a no-hitter working before it was disclosed the former Cy Young Award winner was developing a blister on his right middle finger.
That he needed 96 pitches to complete his five innings brought back memories for Cubs pitcher Edwin Jackson, who threw 149 to hurl a no-hitter for the Diamondbacks on June 25, 2010, at Tampa Bay.
Jackson's pitch count was one more than what Lincecum had last year in a no-hitter against the Padres.
"It was tough," Jackson said. "I had that conversation with the manager, and I definitely felt I was stronger as it was going on. ... You don't get that opportunity all the time."
Lincecum and Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow, who threw six no-hit innings at Cincinnati on May 12, 1983, are the only two Giants pitchers since 1958 to pitch at least five no-hit innings without throwing a complete game.
All-Star endorsement: As long as Jeff Samardzija doesn't get traded in the next six weeks, he stands a strong chance to represent the Cubs at the All-Star Game.
Despite his 1-4 record in 11 starts, his 1.68 ERA is second to only Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals (1.67). Samardzija has allowed one earned run or fewer in six starts and has allowed as many as three earned runs on only two occasions.
"We have to look at everything in context," manager Rick Renteria said. "The way he has been pitching, he certainly deserves a nod, a sincere consideration based on his performance.
"And I will certainly lobby for (him)."
But that's as long as he remains in the league. In 2002, Bartolo Colon posted a 10-4 record with the Indians but was traded to the Expos three days before the All-Star teams were announced. He was deemed ineligible to pitch for the American League and went on to earn a 10-4 record with the Expos.
Giant love: The balance of the Giants' roster as well as the in-game entertainment that stimulated the 274th consecutive sellout crowd impressed several Cubs.
"They're excited on a replay in the eighth with a 5-0 lead," John Baker said of the fans. "There's energy here. They do it not just from a personnel standpoint on their team. I feel how this stadium is run with the stuff they do on the video board and the way they get the fans into the game is the best in baseball. It's one of the more difficult environments, but it's a lot of fun to play here.
"You want to beat these guys. You know for the past five years, these guys run out a team of professional baseball players that play the game the right way and don't panic. That's why they've been to World Series and playoffs and they continue to win. Add that all to this great environment, and they have a great recipe for success here."
Extra innings: Reliever Pedro Strop, sidelined since May 7 because of a strained left groin, is close to starting a minor league rehab assignment. ... Outfielder Ryan Sweeney, out since May 3 because of a strained right hamstring, has increased his running to about 80 percent without any tightness or soreness. He has resumed live hitting. ... Emilio Bonifacio started at second base for the first time since May 6. Bonifacio has played center field most of the time since Sweeney's injury. ... Reliever Wesley Wright's wife, Sherrell, gave birth Tuesday to daughter Harlem Rose.
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