"He wanted it. You could tell. He was definitely in his zone, so to speak," Righetti said.
"It goes without saying how badly a guy wants it when it's going like that," Lincecum said. "You just hope they give you a leash to do so and you do so with the slack that you're given. I think it just turns into an internal focus and you try to take advantage of the pitches you have left and you know that every pitch that you throw is that much more worrisome, I'm pretty sure."
Bochy said he was impressed with how Lincecum got locked in when he had thrown about 100 pitches.
"Sure, that's a lot of pitches, but there's days when a guy gets in a groove, he's not putting a lot of effort in it and you let the dog run. ... There's no way I could have taken that kid out," Bochy said. "First of all, he probably wouldn't have talked to me the rest of the season. But he was still going strong."
Lincecum struck out 13, walked four and hit a batter.
He struggled this year and last, although he's also been plagued this season by poor run support.
Lincecum's no-hitter for the Giants follows Jonathan Sanchez's no-no in 2009 — also against the Padres — and Matt Cain's perfect game last year.
Righetti recalled that early in Lincecum's career, his stuff was so good that it wasn't uncommon to think, "Uh oh, this is the day."
"I don't know that he'd say this publicly, I think he maybe felt his time was past," Righetti said. "I knew he watched Jonathan get his, and then Cain, and you know he's thinking about it.
"For him to get it, I had tears in my eyes. I know what he's been through, back and forth, and being the guy, and people picking him apart. I'm proud of him. I told him that the last game — the way he's been handling it all, and the way he's gone through this wave that every guy's got to go through."
Lincecum's no-hitter — the first in Petco Park's 10-year history — was popular well beyond the pro-Giants crowd in San Diego.
Lincecum is from Seattle and pitched for the University of Washington. During a pitching change during the Angels-Mariners game at Safeco Field, the ninth inning of the Giants-Padres game was shown on the video board, until there were two strikes on the last batter, Yonder Alonso.
Josh Hamilton then stepped into the batter's box and the other game was taken off the board, drawing boos from the crowd. Hamilton had a long at-bat and word began trickling through the crowd that Lincecum had finished the no-no.
Before the next batter, the final out of Lincecum's no-hitter was shown, and the crowd cheered.