Unbeaten since All-Star break, right-hander twirls 8 scoreless frames of one-hit ball
By Alex Simon
SAN FRANCISCO -- The only thing that stopped Cardinals starter Lance Lynn's masterful performance on Saturday in San Francisco was his middle finger.
Lynn threw eight shutout innings against the Giants, allowing one hit, but couldn't attempt to throw his second-career shutout. Instead, Lynn watched the Giants come back and down the Cardinals, 2-1, on a blistering afternoon.
"I didn't think they were going to allow me because I had a blister, and a pretty bad one," Lynn said. "I wish I could've [pitched the ninth]."
Lynn said that a blister flared up on his right middle finger around the sixth inning and progressively got worse as the game wore on.
"If that wouldn't have flared up, then I think I would've been alright," Lynn said. "But the last couple of innings, I was dealing with that, and I was able to get through eight."
Lynn allowed a hit to the second batter of the game and walked two to load the bases in the first with two outs, but he got out of the jam and found a groove, facing the minimum number of batters from the second inning on.
"He was great today. Lance was great," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Everything he had, everything he wanted. After he got through that first, he found the plate and found his movement. It was impressive. It's a shame he doesn't get a win out of that."
Lynn's four strikeouts on the day came in his final five hitters, including striking out the side in the eighth. He logged his 900th career strikeout when he fanned Carlos Moncrief looking to open the eighth, moving him past Larry Jackson into 10th place on the Cardinals' franchise leaderboard for strikeouts, ending the day with 902. Saturday also marked Lynn's first time throwing eight shutout innings in a game since June 23, 2014, against the Rockies.
"I don't think he threw a ball over the middle of the plate," Giants catcher Nick Hundley said. "The fastball went on both sides of the plate. His execution made it really tough. I thought he did an outstanding job."
Lynn's ERA dropped to 2.99 with the gem, and he pushed his personal unbeaten streak to 11 straight starts. After missing all of 2016 recovering from Tommy John surgery, Lynn has taken ownership of being the veteran at the top of the Cardinals' rotation in his sixth Major League season.
"That's what being a horse is all about," Lynn said. "I think everybody knows it. I just have to show that I'm still that guy."
Matheny added, "Lance has been good all year. He's had a terrific season. Ones like this, you hate to see them get away. He's answered the bell every day. He's had a lot of these hot day games and he's been able to come out and pitch really well. Just can't ask for any more than what he's done."
Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.