SAN FRANCISCO – Edwin Jackson didn’t really notice that Tim Lincecum had a no-hitter going when Bruce Bochy pulled the plug after five innings.
The San Francisco Giants looked at Lincecum’s pitch count (96), the blister developing on his finger and the big picture for a two-time Cy Young winner expected to perform again this October.
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Jackson had flashbacks after Wednesday’s 5-0 loss at AT&T Park, and the Cubs hoped for those moments when they gave him a $52 million contract. Nothing sums up Jackson’s high-end potential and frustrating inconsistency quite like the no-hitter he threw for the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 25, 2010.
Jackson beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 at Tropicana Field despite walking eight, hitting another batter and throwing 149 pitches. The Arizona manager at the time – current San Diego Padres executive A.J. Hinch – interviewed for the Cubs job last fall.
“I had that conversation with the manager,” Jackson said. “I definitely wasn’t trying to come out. I felt like I was getting stronger as the game went on. I was fortunate enough that I was able to stay in that game and complete the no-hitter.
“If you don’t pull him and he throws 149 pitches – and on the 150th pitch they get a hit – the manager feels like it may be a wasted effort. The pitcher feels like it may be a wasted effort. But it’s one of those things where you don’t get that opportunity all the time. So when you get it, you want to take advantage of it.”
About a month later, the Diamondbacks traded Jackson to the White Sox in the Daniel Hudson deal, continuing an odyssey that’s seen him pitch for eight different teams.
Jackson (3-5, 4.81 ERA) actually looked more dominating than Lincecum on Wednesday afternoon, notching nine strikeouts and leaving a scoreless game with one out in the sixth inning – before both inherited runners scored off relievers James Russell and Brian Schlitter.
Lincecum gave up four walks and hit ex-teammate Nate Schierholtz with a pitch, winding up with a no-decision. Since the franchise moved to the Bay Area in 1958, Mike Krukow (1983) and Lincecum are the only two Giants to put up five or more no-hit innings without throwing a complete game.
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Lincecum already has two World Series rings and last season’s no-hitter on his resume.
“Every manager has different decisions,” Jackson said. “They have different reasons for when they pull pitchers and when they don’t pull pitchers. It’s just one of those things where you take the game as is. He came out throwing a no-hitter, but I don’t think they were going to let him throw 148 pitches like he did last year.
“Ultimately, he still pitched well enough to get (his team) a win.”