After twirling his second career no-hitter against the Padres last Wednesday, The Freak will be back at it on Tuesday (7:15 p.m. PT at AT&T Park) against the Cardinals. Lincecum held San Diego to just one walk while striking out six and throwing 113 pitches, and he will be looking for a similar type of performance on Tuesday.
After his no-hitter on June 18 against the Rockies, Kershaw turned around and blanked the Royals over eight innings last Tuesday. He held the Cardinals scoreless on Sunday and owns a personal streak of 28 consecutive scoreless innings.
Unlike Kershaw, Lincecum has been in this situation before. He no-hit the Padres on July 13 last year, but struggled mightily in his follow-up start (eight earned runs on nine hits and a walk in just 3 2/3 innings against the Reds). But Lincecum threw 148 pitches in his first career no-no. He should have a much fuller tank when he takes the hill Tuesday. And all eyes will be on him for an encore.
Here's what some of baseball's best have turned in for a no-hitter encore in the past:
Johnny Vander Meer (June 15, 1938): nine innings, no hits, no earned runs
Vander Meer is the gold standard when it comes to no-hitter encores. He remains the only pitcher in baseball history to follow up one no-no with a second, first stymieing the Boston Bees and then the Brooklyn Dodgers in back-to-back starts on June 11 and 15, 1938, respectively.
Kershaw (June 24, 2014): eight innings, six hits, no runs
Kershaw didn't match Vander Meer, giving up a first-inning single, but he was all but spotless against the host Royals, fanning eight and walking one.
Justin Verlander (May 13, 2011): eight innings, two hits, one earned run
The Tigers' ace's second career no-hitter came with quite the follow-up. After shutting down the Blue Jays on May 7, Verlander bounced back with a superb outing against the division-rival Royals. He struck out seven and walked three en route to his fourth win of his American League Cy Young Award and AL MVP Award season.
Nolan Ryan (June 6, 1975): nine innings, two hits, no earned runs
The author of seven no-hitters, Ryan threw at least nine innings in each of his follow-up starts after his first five no-nos. The follow-up to his fourth no-hitter was almost as impressive as the no-hitter itself.
Warren Spahn (May 3, 1961): nine innings, two hits, one earned run
The Hall of Famer threw no-hitters in back-to-back seasons (1960-61) and both times followed them with superb encores. After Spahn's no-hitter in '61, he came back and scattered one run and two hits over nine innings while striking out nine.
Tommy Greene (May 28, 1991): nine innings, three hits, no earned runs
Greene is the most recent pitcher to follow up a no-hitter with a shutout. He blanked the Expos with 10 strikeouts and seven walks on May 23, 1991, then turned around and shut them out again five days later.
Charlie Lea (May 16, 1981): nine innings, four hits, no earned runs
Lea was just a one-time All-Star, and that didn't occur until three years after his only career no-hitter. Only twice in '81 did Lea log more than seven innings in a start, and he did so in back-to-back outings from May 10-16. After striking out eight and walking four in his no-no, he struck out six and walked two in his four-hit shutout encore.
Bill Stoneman (April 22, 1969): nine innings, six hits, no earned runs
Stoneman's first of two no-hitters came in his first full season as a starter (and first season with the Expos). In just his third start of the season, he no-hit the Phillies while walking five and striking out eight. In Stoneman's fourth start, he struck out five, walked just one and scattered six hits in a shutout of the Cardinals.
Dave Stieb (Sept. 8, 1990): eight innings, six hits, no earned runs
Stieb's last great season of a seven-time All-Star career was 1990, when he turned in his only no-hitter. That was his 17th win of the season, and his 18th and final victory of that year came in the following outing. Stieb went on to finish fifth in the AL Cy Young Award voting that season.
Ken Holtzman (June 8, 1971): 12 innings, nine hits, no earned runs
Holtzman threw two no-nos in a span of three seasons, but it was the encore to his second no-hitter that really stood out. After shutting down the Reds on June 3, the lefty actually came in for relief on June 5 against the Cubs. He blew a save in the 11th inning, then started again on June 8. Remarkably, Holtzman threw a 12-inning shutout and struck out 12. The Cubs won that game, 1-0.
Sandy Koufax (July 4, 1962): nine innings, five hits, one earned run
The Dodgers legend had four career no-hitters from 1962-65, and the encore to his first was perhaps most impressive. Over the two-game stretch from his no-hitter on June 30 to his follow-up on July 4, Koufax struck out an incredible 23 hitters. He had 11 nine-inning games that season, and nine with double-digit strikeouts.
Bill Singer (July 24, 1970): nine innings, five hits, one earned run
Singer had six double-digit win seasons, but his no-hitter season was not one of them. Still, his July 20 perfect game (10 strikeouts) saw a formidable encore four days later. From July 20-30 that season, Singer struck out 27 hitters.
Ryan (July 19, 1973): 10 1/3 innings, three hits, two earned runs
It wasn't a spotless outing, but considering the bounce back and the innings logged, this may be Ryan's most impressive encore. After striking out 17 in his no-hitter on July 15, 1973, Ryan followed it up with 13 strikeouts in 10 1/3 innings.