Cards shut down by Giants' Lincecum

Cards shut down by Giants' Lincecum

ST. LOUIS -- Nineteen years to the day after the Cardinals were no-hit by the Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela, it looked like St. Louis might suffer the same fate on Monday.

The Giants' Tim Lincecum retired the first 14 hitters he faced and allowed only two hits on the night as he put together a dominating performance to beat the Cardinals, 10-0, at Busch Stadium.

Lincecum had no-hit stuff from the game's first pitch, allowing only two baserunners -- a single by Rick Ankiel in the fifth and a double by Albert Pujols in the seventh.

"He's got his credentials, and he's worth every bit of it," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "He was really impressive. He pitches. He's got a lot of talent, but he really pitches. He worked us over.

"He's got a two ERA. When he pitches, I don't know of a lot of guys who are going to be excited."

Seeing a pitcher with stuff as good as Lincecum's wasn't what the Cardinals needed to help them try and break out of their offensive struggles. The Cardinals struck out eight times and hit only seven balls that reached the outfield.

"He's got so many different weapons," said outfielder Ryan Ludwick, who was 0-for-3 against the Giants ace but hit two balls well. "He's got a little slider, he's got the big curveball, a good changeup and he throws 94-95 miles per hour. There's a reason he was (7-2) coming into tonight, and there's a reason that he's up there leading the league in strikeouts and a reason why his ERA is low."

It was the fifth career complete game for Lincecum and the third in his last four starts. He went to a three-ball count only twice all night and needed just 95 pitches to finish the two-hour, six-minute game. Simply put, Lincecum was nearly unhittable.

Brad Thompson started for the Cardinals and gave up four runs in six innings. He fell into trouble in the first as the Giants scored what ended up being the game-winning run on an single by Bengie Molina.

He appeared to right the ship in the second and third innings but found trouble again in the fourth when the Giants scored three runs on a long homer by seventh place hitter Travis Ishikawa.

"He came in and threw a great game and he's obviously a great pitcher and won the Cy Young for a reason," Thompson said of the San Francisco starter. "But I have to keep us in the game and keep us out of the big inning there. That home run kills us and kind of knocked the wind out of us a little bit.

"The pitch was up. It was thigh-high fastball. It caught more of the middle of the plate than I wanted to. I'm trying to throw a sinker away there and get a ground ball for a double play, but he took advantage of it. You can't leave the ball there with any hitter."

Clayton Mortensen relieved Thompson in the seventh and become the eighth Cardinals player to make his Major League debut this season. He gave up five runs -- only one of which was earned -- in the seventh before a long solo homer in the eighth by Juan Uribe made it 10-0.

But none of that mattered with Lincecum dealing on the mound. It was the 11th time this season that the Cardinals scored one run or less and their second goose egg in the past six games. But with the stuff Lincecum had on Monday night, it would have been tough for an All-Star team to put a run on the board.

"Him with a lot of runs on the board is extremely dangerous," Ludwick said.

And things won't get any easier on Tuesday, when the Cardinals try to end their offensive slump against five-time Cy Young Award winner Randy Johnson.

"There's a lot of season left, and we just need to get rolling," Ludwick said. "There's no doubt in my mind that everyone in here is capable. We had a bad game tonight, but it's one game. You throw it in the basket, move on and get ready for tomorrow."

B.J. Rains is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.