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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The sellout crowd that had been waiting seven years for another playoff game roared when Tim Lincecum jogged back out to the mound to start the ninth inning. The way the Freak dominated in his postseason debut, there was no way manager Bruce Bochy would take the ball away.
Lincecum pitched a two-hitter and struck out 14 in a dazzling performance, and the San Francisco Giants scored their only run after a questionable umpiring call to beat the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in Game 1 of their NL division series Thursday night.
"That's one of the best efforts I've ever seen," Bochy said. "What a great job that kid did. He's tough. If he's on and he has all his pitches working, he's going to be tough."
That he was.
The two-time NL Cy Young winner pitched a gem, a day after Philadelphia's Roy Halladay threw only the second no-hitter in postseason history in his first playoff game. Lincecum outdueled playoff veteran Derek Lowe and caught a break, too.
Cody Ross singled in the only run Lincecum needed in the fourth after Buster Posey was called safe by umpire Paul Emmel on a steal of second.
"I guess it's a good thing we don't have instant replay right now," Posey said. "It was a beautiful slide, wasn't it?"
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