SAN DIEGO (AP) — Tim Lincecum doesn't pitch like the two-time Cy Young award winner from five years ago. He's just beginning to get similar results.
The right-hander struggled after winning the honor in 2008 and 2009, but a retooling of his game has begun to pay off and has the San Francisco Giants thinking about the Lincecum of old.
After throwing a no-hitter against San Diego 11 days ago, Lincecum took a shutout into the seventh inning Sunday to lead the Giants to a 5-3 win over the Padres.
Lincecum (8-5) extended his scoreless streak to 23 1-3 innings before Brooks Conrad hit a solo homer in the seventh to knock him out of the game.
The streak started with his second career no-hitter against San Diego on June 25. Lincecum followed that with eight scoreless innings in a 5-0 win over St. Louis on Tuesday.
Although this is not the overpowering Lincecum who won the Cy Young in consecutive years, the results are impressive.
"I'm not going to overpower teams with my stuff," Lincecum said. "I'm just going to have to mix my pitches and locations. I'm doing a good job of that. I'm not missing in big spots with pitches."
He allowed one run on three hits, walked four and struck out six. Lincecum has won all three starts this season against San Diego and improved his mark against the Padres to 16-6 in 29 career starts.
Lincecum threw his first no-hitter at San Diego on July 13, 2013.
"Timmy's just been on a good roll," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "How poised he's been, how easy his delivery has been."
The Giants have been down this road before with Lincecum since he began struggling after his last Cy Young season and lacked the consistency that had marked the early part of his career.
Bochy thinks this recent stretch may last.
"He's reinvented himself," Bochy said. "I think he has a better idea of what he wants to do as far as pitching. He's become more of a pitcher. It was pure stuff early on in his career. He's gotten more cerebral with the pitching side of it."
Lincecum also believes he may be able to sustain his most recent success as compared to other stretches when it didn't last.
"It's just a feeling I have right now," he said. "I look for consistency and this is about as consistent as I have been in the last few years. Hopefully, this is the start of something good."