NEW YORK Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants claimed the National League Cy Young Award for the second successive year Thursday, winning in a close vote over Cardinals starters Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.
Lincecum, 15-7 with a 2.48 earned run average for the Giants, received fewer first-place votes than St Louis starter Wainwright in the balloting of members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Wainwright (19-8, 2.63 ERA) finished third in the points tally behind team mate Carpenter (17-4, 2.24 ERA).
Lincecum was named first on 11 of the 32 ballots, cast by two writers from each league city, one fewer than Wainwright, but received 12 second-place votes and nine for third place to finish with 100 points based on a 5-3-1 points distribution.
Carpenter, who got nine first-place votes, finished with a total of 94 points, four more than Wainwright.
"I was lucky in that it was so close and I was able to come out on top," Lincecum, 25, said in a conference call.
The only other time a pitcher won the Cy Young Award without receiving the most first-place votes was in 1998 when the Atlanta Braves' Tom Glavine had 11 to San Diego Padres reliever Trevor Hoffman's 13, but out-pointed him 98-88.
The 10-point margin among the top three vote-getters was second closest in NL voting behind the 1987 balloting won by Philadelphia Phillies reliever Steve Bedrosian.
"Both guys I was going up against had tremendous seasons," the rail-thin Giants right-hander said. "I didn't know how the cards were gonna fall. It was a lucky one for me."
Lincecum's 15 wins was the lowest total for a Cy Young winner, but despite registering three fewer victories than in last year's 18-5 season, he was more effective.
He lowered his ERA, opponents had a lower batting average against him, and he trimmed his walks while becoming the first Giants pitcher since Christy Mathewson in 1908 to lead the league in strikeouts two years in a row.
"It's a tremendous honor for me. This is the cherry on the top. To do what I've done in the time that I've done it means the world," said Lincecum, who was charged with two misdemeanors after a small amount of marijuana was seized when he was stopped last month for speeding on the highway.
Lincecum read a written apology about the incident, in which he plead guilty to a lesser infraction pending a December court appearance in Washington state and paid a $250 fine.
"I made a mistake and I regret my actions earlier this month in Washington. I want to apologize to the Giants organization and to the fans.
"I know that as a professional athlete I have a responsibility to conduct myself appropriately both on and off the field. I certainly have learned a valuable lesson and I promise to do better in the future."
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)