San Francisco, Calif. — Tim Lincecum threw his second career no-hitter on Wednesday — less than a year after his first — and was one walk away from a perfect game in a 4-0 win over the San Diego Padres.
Lincecum pitched his first no-hitter last July 13 — on the road against the Padres, the only MLB team without a no-no in franchise history.
They’ve now had two thrown against them by Lincecum.
“Just an incredible performance. He had such great focus,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “He was just an artist out there.”
Lincecum (6-5) retired the last 23 batters he faced after giving up a one-out walk in the second inning and struck out six. He threw 113 pitches — 73 for strikes — and helped himself on offense, stroking two singles and scoring two runs.
He joined Christy Mathewson as the only Giants with two career no-hitters and was the 32nd pitcher in major league history to accomplish the feat.
It was the 16th no-hitter in Giants franchise history and the ninth thrown against the Padres.
“It’s hard enough to do one,” said Bochy. “If you do two, it puts you in a different class.”
Lincecum’s highest pitch count came in the first inning, when he threw 18. Chase Headley was the only Padre to reach base with a six-pitch walk in the second, but Lincecum struck out Tommy Medica and got Alexi Amarista on a grounder to end the inning.
“I’m not just saying this (but) early in the game I said, ‘He’s got a chance to throw a no-hitter,’” Bochy said. “He had everything working for him. … The club really needed it.”
The Padres sent two pinch-hitters to the plate in the ninth inning against the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner: Chris Denorfia, who went down swinging on five pitches; and Yasmani Grandal, who grounded out on a full-count slider.
Will Venable made the final out, grounding to second baseman Joe Panik, who threw to Buster Posey at first to touch off a celebration around Lincecum in the infield.
The right-hander shunned tradition and talked to teammates in the dugout during his bid, saying later it made him more comfortable.
“I was just trying to keep it out of my brain and focus on what I had going,” said Lincecum.
It was the third no-hitter thrown this season with the other two coming from Los Angeles Dodgers starters Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw.
Lincecum, 30, was getting ready for an on-field interview when he was hit with a double shower of sports drink and ran immediately into the clubhouse.
San Diego starter Ian Kennedy (5-9) surrendered four runs on nine hits while fanning eight.
The Giants took an early lead in the second after Brandon Crawford smacked a triple off the center-field wall and scored on Hector Sanchez’s sacrifice fly.
Carlos Quentin came up short in left field twice in the third, which allowed the Giants to score a run. Lincecum led off with a single and Posey’s base hit went off the glove of a sliding Quentin put runners on the corners with two outs. Pablo Sandoval then ripped a double just past a diving Quentin to make it 2-0.
A two-run double from Posey in the seventh plated Lincecum and Hunter Pence.
The only perfect game in Giants history came from Matt Cain in on June 13, 2012, against Houston. The Giants are the first team in nearly 40 years to have no-hitters in three straight seasons. Nolan Ryan had four no-hitters between 1973-75 for the Angels … Lincecum is the fourth active pitcher with multiple no-hitters, joining Cincinnati’s Homer Bailey; Mark Buehrle, who threw two for the Chicago White Sox; and Detroit’s Justin Verlander … Lincecum is second pitcher ever to no-hit the same team twice. Cleveland’s Addie Joss no-hit the White Sox in 1908 and 1910 … Posey finished 4- for-4.