The Freaky Franchise does it again

Tim Lincecum threw his second career no-hitter last Wednesday as the San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres by a score of 4–0. ‘The Freak’ held the Padres hitless for the second time in less than a year, having hurled his first career no-hitter against them last July at Petco Park.

Lincecum’s ability to pitch is therefore in stark contrast to his ability to set his answerphone greeting:

It was the first Giants no-hitter that I have been able to watch as it unfolded, as the previous no-hit games in recent years have been night games, which take place in the early hours of the morning UK time. With this one being a day game, I was able to tune in live and watch every single out. The tension was almost unbearable by the end, but I was pretty sure Lincecum could complete the job and he didn’t let us down. With San Francisco’s early season form having taken a nosedive in June (they have lost 15 of their last 19 games), the no-hit game may have been a blip on an othewise downward spiral, but it was cause for celebration nonetheless.

Watching all 27 outs again in quick succession (along with the one walk that prevented the no-no from becoming a perfecto) does little to recreate the drama of watching the full game at the time, but here they all are anyway:

Duane Kuiper’s call for television was a little more restrained than I had expected. Perhaps the novelty of calling World Series wins and no-hitters wears off after a while.

He looks into Hector Sanchez. On the ground to Panik… Panik to Posey… and Lincecum has done it again, he has no-hit the San Diego Padres for the second time in two years. What a great performance by that kid.

On the radio side, Jon Miller was more animated.

Everybody standing. People holding up their cellphone cameras to record the moment. Two down in the ninth, the 1–2 pitch, curveball grounded to second! Panik’s got it, the throw to first… IT’S A NO-HITTER! Tim Lincecum, who is mobbed by his overjoyed Giants teammates has pitched his second no-hitter, and in the second consecutive year. He pitched one against these Padres last July, and not quite one year later he does it again, this time here at home.

With Hector Sanchez on catching duty – he is Lincecum’s personal catcher these days – Buster Posey played the entire game at first base, having previously caught Matt Cain’s perfect game and Lincecum’s first no-hitter. I have no idea whether anyone has ever before played in no-hit games as both a catcher and first baseman, but it must be a very rare occurrence.

All of this trivia helps me to forget that the Dodgers (9.5 games behind the Giants 21 days ago) have now caught the Giants at the top of the NL West and seem to have all the momentum going into the second half of the season.

The no-hitter is the fourth for the Giants in the last six seasons. Pablo Sandoval is the only Giant to have played in all four of those games, hitting 10 for 15 with 7 RBI, 4 runs, 3 doubles and a homer.

Finally, some stats involving the number 2. No, not that kind of number 2. Nor anything to do with Derek Jeter.

Lincecum is only the second Giant to pitch two no-hitters. Christy Mathewson did so for the New York Giants in 1901 and 1905, but Lincecum is the first in the San Francisco era.

After Adie Joss of the Cleveland Naps, who no-hit the White Sox in 1910 and 1912, Lincecum is only the second pitcher to no-hit the same team twice, and the only one to do so in consecutive seasons.

The only other pitcher with multiple Cy Young awards, multiple World Series rings and multiple no-hitters is Sandy Koufax. And I bet Koufax never tried to grow a ridiculous ‘tache TWICE in the same season.



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