SAN FRANCISCO — Tim Lincecum’s days of dominance may be in the past. That doesn’t mean he can’t dial up flashes of the Freak he once was — especially against the San Diego Padres.
Lincecum pitched his second no-hitter against the Padres in less than a year, allowing only one runner Wednesday and leading the San Francisco Giants to a 4-0 win.
“I’ve always been that guy who will kind of go for the strikeout,” said Lincecum, who starred at Liberty High School and the University of Washington. “I think my first no-hitter I had 13, so I think I was going for those a little bit more often.”
“Today I tried to be a little bit more efficient and take what they were going to give me,” he said.
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Lincecum totally shut down the weakest-hitting team in the majors, striking out six and walking one in a 113-pitch outing — 35 fewer than he needed last July 13 against the Padres in his first no-hitter.
Lincecum retired the final 23 batters after walking Chase Headley in the second inning, relying much more on his off-speed stuff than his fastball. Though the Padres hit a few balls hard, San Francisco fielders didn’t need to make any exceptional plays to preserve Lincecum’s gem.
The right-hander with two NL Cy Young Awards became just the second pitcher in major-league history to twice no-hit the same team. Hall of Famer Addie Joss did it for Cleveland against the Chicago White Sox with a perfect game in 1908 and a no-hitter in 1910.
“It’s hard enough to do one,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “To do two, that puts you in a little different class. I couldn’t be happier.”
Lincecum (6-5) threw the 16th no-hitter in Giants’ team history. Just one other pitcher has thrown two — Christy Mathewson for the New York Giants more than 100 years ago.
In fact, Lincecum joined Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay as the only pitchers with two Cy Young awards and two no-hitters.
Lincecum won NL Cy Young awards in 2008 and ‘09 and helped lead the Giants to their first World Series title in San Francisco the following season.
As age and wear and tear ate away at his velocity, Lincecum was forced to change what kind of pitcher he is. It hasn’t been an easy transformation at times as he posted a losing record the past two seasons.
This was the third no-hitter in the majors this year. Clayton Kershaw did it exactly a week ago and his Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Josh Beckett did it earlier in the season.