PHOENIX -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy still talks fondly of the overpowering first impression Tim Lincecum made years ago. Lincecum could dominate with two pitches, Bochy said, a fastball that sat in the upper 90s and a curveball that Baseball America ranked as the best breaking ball in the 2006 draft.

Lincecum eventually mastered a changeup, and some of his most dominant nights have come because of his slider. These days, he said, it's a constant search to find the pitch or combination that is working best during any given start.

"It's kind of a feel thing," he said. "I tend to really rely on the one that feels good that day."

San Francisco Giants’ starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) throws against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif.
San Francisco Giants' starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) throws against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay AreaSan Francisco Giants' starting pitcher Tim Lincecum (55) throws against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) News Group)

While giving up only one run over seven innings last Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, Lincecum had a feeling that has been rare for him over the past two seasons.

"I felt good with all of my pitches," he said.

According to data compiled by Brooks Baseball, Lincecum threw 40 pitches that were recorded as fastballs, 22 changeups, 21 curveballs and 15 sliders. The reliance on the curveball was a rarity for Lincecum, who threw 25 recorded curveballs in April and 24 in May and had not thrown more than 20 in a start since June 6, 2011.

"Timmy is one of those guys that when it's working for him, he uses it," Bochy said. "That game (on Tuesday), he used his curveball a lot. But he threw all strikes with all his pitches. He walked just one guy, and he was just right on target all day. He used all his pitches well, and I thought he used his curveball well."

Lincecum can't be sure that he'll have the same mix when he faces the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, and his recent history suggests it's not often that he feels so comfortable going back to the curveball. Last October, for instance, Lincecum threw only eight curveballs while dominating out of the bullpen with a mix that was fastball-changeup heavy.

Lincecum's first start this June was one of his best of the last two seasons, but he looked almost glum afterward, saying the key was to have a succession of strong starts, not just one. He'll get his chance to keep the momentum going Tuesday, when he squares off against 2011 first overall pick Gerrit Cole, who is making his major league debut and features a fastball that can reach 100 mph.

Lincecum doesn't approach that level with his fastball anymore, but he has found success over the past two seasons on days when he can locate with different pitches.

"It's key because hitters can't find the tendencies in that," he said. "Hopefully that's the case."

  • Left-hander Eric Surkamp made his second rehab start Sunday, giving up one run over two innings for the San Jose Giants. In two appearances, Surkamp, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, has given up one hit and one run in four innings and has five strikeouts.

    "He's coming along really well," Bochy said. "The last time we were here (in Phoenix), he threw a bullpen, and I thought it was really impressive."

    Surkamp started six games for the Giants in 201 and was the organization's best starting option in the high minors before he had surgery last July. Bochy said Surkamp could be back to his old self within a month if all goes well.

  • Francisco Liriano is scheduled to start Wednesday for the Pirates. It would be his first start against the Giants since he was included in a package that brought A.J. Pierzynski to San Francisco after the 2003 season.

  • Giants second-round pick Ryder Jones announced on Twitter that he has signed and will begin working out at the team's facility in Arizona on Wednesday. Jones, a third baseman from Watauga High in North Carolina, had committed to Stanford.