SAN FRANCISCO — The Freak really showed up for the Giants on his biggest stage yet.
Tim Lincecum, living up to his nickname, pitched a two-hitter and struck out 14 in a dominating postseason debut, and the Giants scored their only run after a questionable umpiring call to beat the Braves 1-0 in Game 1 of their NL division series Thursday night.
"That's one of the best efforts I've ever seen," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "What a great job that kid did. He's tough."
Lincecum pitched his gem a day after the Phillies' Roy Halladay threw the second no-hitter in postseason history in his debut. 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 on a steal of second by umpire Paul Emmel. Posey appeared to be tagged out by Brooks Conrad on the play; retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox, the all-time leader in ejections, did not argue.
"I haven't seen it," Cox said. "Some of the guys came down after that inning and said he was out by 6, 8 inches. From the dugout you can't see anything."
Lincecum struck out Derrek Lee for the third time to end the 119-pitch masterpiece in 2 hours, 26 minutes. He became the 12th pitcher with 14 or more strikeouts in a postseason game.
In a postseason already filled with stellar pitching, this was the first 1-0 playoff game since 2005, when the White Sox finished off a World Series sweep over the Astros.
Game 2 is tonight, with Matt Cain going for the Giants against Tommy Hanson.
Lincecum's other complete game this season was a two-hit shutout of the Mets on July 15.
The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner carried over the momentum from a strong final month. His strikeouts set a franchise record for a postseason game, and he struck out 10 or more for the eighth time this year and 27th in his career.
"He was lights-out," Cox said. "We had two runners at second base all night and that's it."
Lincecum, still hitting 91 mph on the radar gun in the ninth, became the first pitcher to record 12 strikeouts or more in the playoffs since Roger Clemens had 15 for the Yankees against the Mariners in the 2000 AL Championship Series.
Lowe was done after giving up Posey's double and a walk in the sixth. That delighted the sellout crowd of 43,936 at AT&T Park, the largest attendance for a postseason game in the ballpark's 11-year history.