SAN FRANCISCO - Tim Lincecum’s days of dominance might be in the past. But 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 within a year, allowing only one runner Wednesday as the San Francisco Giants won 4-0.
“I’ve always been that guy who will kind of go for the strikeout,” Lincecum said. “I think my first no-hitter I had 13, so I think I was going for those a little bit more often [then].
“Today I tried to be a little bit more efficient and take what they were going to give me. They were giving me a lot of groundballs and a lot of pop flies, so I was just going to try to keep attacking the way that I was,” he said.
Lincecum shut down the weakest-hitting team in the majors, striking out six and walking one in a 113-pitch outing — 35 pitches fewer than he needed last July 13 against the Padres in his other no-hitter.
Lincecum retired the final 23 batters after walking Chase Headley in the second inning, relying much more on his offspeed 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 righthander with two NL Cy Young Awards (in 2008 and ’09) became just the second pitcher in major league history to no-hit the same team twice. 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 franchise pitcher has thrown two no-hitters — Christy Mathewson for the New York Giants more than 100 years ago.
Lincecum joined Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson and Roy Halladay as the only pitchers with two Cy Young Awards and two no-hitters.
“Just to be in that company allows me a chance to pat myself on the back a little bit,” said Lincecum, who also had two hits.
Rick Wise was the last no-hit pitcher with two hits — both homers — for Philadelphia against Cincinnati on June 23, 1971.
“Regardless of what they did, I think it’s cool I got two hits anyway because up to today I only had one and a pretty poor batting average,” Lincecum said. “I got that thing above .100 and I feel much better about it.”
Everybody else, of course, was raving about his pitching.
“He was good. It wasn’t a fluke,” Headley said. “His split and changeup — or whatever you want to call it — if it’s not the best in baseball, then it’s one of the best pitches in baseball.”