(Reuters) - San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres for the second time in less than a year with a masterful performance in a 4-0 home victory on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old right-hander struck out six and yielded one walk in dominating the Padres, the team he also hurled his first career no-hitter against last July.
“I wasn’t really thinking about it out there, and at the very end it caught me by surprise, and what do you know? You got a no-hitter,” Lincecum told reporters.
The slightly built Lincecum, nicknamed “The Freak,” breezed through the Padres in the ninth, retiring pinch-hitters Chris Denorfia and Yasmani Grandal before getting Will Venable to ground out to second baseman Joe Panik to end the game.
Teammates rushed to the mound to celebrate the no-hitter, mobbing Lincecum in delight.
The celebration also interrupted his on-field interview, as just before he was about to speak a teammate dumped a bucket of blue Gatorade over his head, which was immediately followed by another dumping that sent the drenched pitcher heading to the clubhouse.
“He really was an artist out there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“I thought he pitched very efficiently -- had all his pitches working, hit his spots. I‘m not just saying this. Early in the game, I said he’s got a chance to throw a no-hitter here just the way he was locked in and had everything working for him.”
Lincecum became the second Giant to pitch two no-hitters, silencing the San Diego Padres before an AT&T Park audience that was anything but silent during the game.
Baseball Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson no-hit the St. Louis Cardinals in 1901 and the Chicago Cubs in 1905 for the then-New York Giants.
Lincecum, who also helped himself with the bat by going 2-for-3 in the game and scoring two runs, threw 113 pitches, 73 for strikes, before a crowd of more than 41,000 in the afternoon game as he improved to 6-5 for the season.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner joined Hall of Famer Addie Joss as the only pitcher to no-hit the same team twice, according to Elias Sports.
Lincecum’s gem was the third no-hitter of the Major League Baseball season following no-hitters tossed by Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers Josh Beckett and Clayton Kershaw.
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue