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Lincecum named Clutch player for June

Lincecum named Clutch player for June

SAN FRANCISCO -- Tim Lincecum's accustomed to dominating the competition. This time, however, he had to come from behind.

Lincecum received a late yet still timely avalanche of votes to earn the distinction of being June's Major League Baseball Clutch Performer of the Month as presented by Pepsi.

The award recognizes the player who performed his best when the game was on the line. Pepsi has been the "Official Soft Drink of Major League Baseball" since 1997.

Lincecum compiled a 4-1 record with a 1.48 ERA in June. His efforts for the month featured shutouts of Oakland on June 12 and St. Louis on June 29. The latter game enabled Lincecum to extend his current scoreless-innings streak to 23.

"I don't have complete control over what happens. It's one of those rolls that you don't notice until it keeps going on and on and on and on," Lincecum said. "You hope it keeps going. If it stops, then you try to start another one."

Those shutouts proved instrumental as Lincecum recorded three complete games in six June starts.

"If I could throw a complete game every time, that would be ideal," Lincecum said. "But you don't really know what's going to happen that day. You kind of just go with the groove of what's going on."

Lincecum has helped the Giants, who lead the National League Wild Card standings, maintain a good groove. All but one of his June victories followed a San Francisco defeat.

The "MLB Clutch Performer of the Month Presented by Pepsi" winner is selected by fans from a list of six nominees chosen by a special editorial panel from MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball.

During the first week of each month, fans can visit a microsite powered by MLB.com specifically created for the Clutch Performer platform, pepsiclutch.mlb.com, to vote for the nominee they believe was the best Clutch Performer during the previous month. Fans can also go to the site to enter a season-long sweepstakes for a trip for two to the 2009 & 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Games.

At the conclusion of the season, fans will have the opportunity to vote on the "Major League Baseball Clutch Performer of the Year Presented by Pepsi" award winner at MLB.com, and the award will be presented during the Major League Baseball postseason. Last season, CC Sabathia was named the recipient of the "2008 MLB Clutch Performer of the Year Presented by Pepsi."

Lincecum rallied past late leader Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who drove in 22 runs and delivered three walk-off hits during the month, as well as Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee, who had been on a power surge of late, Tampa Bay outfielder B.J. Upton, Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder and Boston ace Josh Beckett.

Any player at any position can win. This award is recognition of the Major Leaguer who carried his team in one form or another, regardless of contract, past accomplishments or shoe endorsements. All that matters is who performed best when the game was on the line, offensively or defensively.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Lisa Winston contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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