SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum had one no-hitter to his credit coming into Thursday's series finale with the Milwaukee Brewers at AT&T Park, and he came awfully close to throwing another.
The Brewers managed just one hit over eight innings against the diminutive right-hander, a leadoff double in the third inning by Juan Francisco, before eventually falling to the San Francisco Giants, 4-1.
"Really good stuff," manager Ron Roenicke said of Lincecum. "You could see it from the first batter. Really free with his delivery, his arm. Great arm speed on his off-speed today. We hit one ball hard off him and got one hit."
Lincecum, who no-hit the San Diego Padres on July 13 on an incredible 148 pitches, allowed just two Brewers to reach base all day in this one -- Francisco's double and a sixth-inning walk to Jeff Bianchi.
Francisco was stranded after a pair of flyouts and a groundout in the third. Bianchi stole second to get into scoring position with one out, but Lincecum struck out Francisco and Yuniesky Betancourt to end the inning.
"Anytime he mixes pitches -- and he can throw strikes with all of them -- it's going to be kind of a tough day," said catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who was 0 for 3 against the former two-time Cy Young Award winner, and 0 for 4 overall.
"There wasn't one at-bat where I wasn't behind in the count. Whenever he's ahead in the count, throwing strikes, it's pretty tough."
Lincecum got all the support he needed in the opening inning as the Giants got to Brewers starter Donovan Hand for three quick runs. Marco Scutaro led off with a single, Brandon Crawford doubled and Brandon Belt lofted a three-run home run out to right.
It was the sixth homer surrendered in the last three starts for Hand.
"Today, give (Belt) credit -- I threw the ball exactly where I wanted it," said Hand. "If I had it to do over again, I'd throw it in the same place, probably. He hit it. It's been frustrating. One pitch again today."
Scutaro doubled with two outs in the second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Crawford single to extend the Giants' lead to 4-0 in the second.
Hand settled down from there and eventually got through the fifth inning, an important hurdle for a Brewers bullpen that came in taxed.
"Four runs after two innings and the pitch count was over 50, I think, so the fact I was able to get through three more scoreless was huge," said Hand, who surrendered seven hits and four walks to go along with four strikeouts to drop to 0-4.
He threw a season-high 107 pitches.
"I kept us in the game and gave us at least a shot. Anytime you have two long first innings like that when you're position players and you stand out there for a long time, it's just frustrating."
If and when Hand will get another opportunity remains to be seen with the Brewers at six starters with Marco Estrada back from the disabled list and Yovani Gallardo expected to return next week.
"It's been a great opportunity if it doesn't go any farther," said Hand. "But I've shown I can do it. I'm 0-4; I know it don't look like it. But I went five every time at least, kept us in the games and had a lead a couple times.
"I haven't started in a long time. It's a learning curve. I'm learning things the hard way, the easy way sometimes. That's why they get paid the big bucks, to make those decisions, and whatever decision they make I've got to go with."
Lincecum, meanwhile, struck out eight in a 108-pitch day before making way for Sandy Rosario in the ninth.
Khris Davis had a pinch-hit double to open the frame, leading to two more pitching changes by Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
Jean Segura greeted the second of those two pitchers, closer Sergio Romo, with a single that drove in Davis and broke up the shutout.
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