The Giants right-hander baffled Astros hitters for eight scoreless innings and looked much more like a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner than a pitcher who is off to a 3-10 start with a 5.93 ERA.
"Outstanding," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He got better as he went, and he had a good tempo and rhythm out there. He had command of all his pitches, and that was the Timmy we know."
On Friday night in Philadelphia, the righty will be looking for another old-school Lincecum performance when the Phillies host the Giants in the opener of a three-game set.
Facing the Phillies on the road could prove a tough task for Lincecum, who is 1-6 with a 9.00 ERA away from AT&T Park this season.
Lincecum has fared well against Philadelphia in the past, however, posting a 4-2 record with a 3.04 ERA during the regular season.
Opposing Lincecum will be Phillies right-hander Vance Worley, who's 5-5 with a 3.47 ERA and beat the Rockies his last time out, posting his seventh quality start in his last eight outings.
The Phils have their sights set on getting back into the NL playoff picture. But Wednesday's loss dropped them back to 11 games under .500, and they must soon decide whether they are buyers or sellers before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Giants: Whiteside returns
The Giants replaced injured catcher Hector Sanchez with a familiar face to many members of their pitching staff: Eli Whiteside, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday. Whiteside was the Giants' backup catcher from 2009-11 but started this season with the Grizzlies.
Whiteside hasn't started since his callup but was immediately thrust into action with the Giants, catching relievers Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla and Brad Penny over three innings during Wednesday night's 9-4, 11-inning win.
"It's so much easier, the fact that he knows them," Bochy said.
Sanchez, who was beginning to establish himself as a solid backup to Buster Posey, was hitting .281 with two homers and 24 RBIs in 39 games this season. Whiteside was hitting .241 in 47 games for Fresno.
Phillies: Hamels remains a question mark
The Phillies are still uncertain about the future of left-handed starter Cole Hamels, who is slated to become a free agent after this season. The club is making efforts to re-sign him but may try to trade him for prospects by the Trade Deadline if he decides to reject their offers.
Hamels' teammates clearly want him to stay.
"He's put himself in a position to be able to take care of his family," Roy Halladay said on Tuesday. "He has a right to do that. I'd like to see him do it here. I know there may have to be concessions on both sides, but hopefully they get close enough to do that. Honestly, I don't have a feeling one way or the other, and I don't know if he does, either, to be honest with you. It's a ways away."
Among Phillies hitters with more than five at-bats against Lincecum, Juan Pierre has the highest career batting average, with six hits -- three for extra bases -- in 15 at-bats (.400).
The Phillies went 23-9 against the NL West last season, including 14-3 on the road. This year, Philadelphia is just 13-13 against the NL West.
Since 2007, every season series between the Phillies and the Giants has been decided either by a single game or ended in a tie. The Giants hold the slight edge during that time, 19 games to 18.