The Bay Area needs no new summer theme park thrill rides. It still has Tim Lincecum.

The Giants' pitcher, who has been spectacularly up and down in terms of success over the past few seasons, was at the very peak of his freaky-geeky powers Wednesday at AT&T Park.

His fastball worked. His off-speed stuff worked. His hipster-hurler mojo worked, like, totally. And after nine innings of all that, Lincecum had thrown a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres -- his second no-hitter against them in the past two seasons.

And what about all of Lincecum's games between those two no-hitters? In those 28 starts, Lincecum allowed 164 hits in 173 1/3 innings of pitching -- with 11 victories and 10 defeats.

San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum, middle is congratulated by teamatesafter he no-hit the Padres at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Wednesday, June
San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum, middle is congratulated by teamatesafter he no-hit the Padres at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. It was the second no-hitter of his career. (John Green/Bay Area News Group) ( JOHN GREEN )

This explains why, every time he takes the mound, Lincecum is an adventure. None of us ever knows exactly what we're going to get. Although clearly, the man needs to face the Padres more often. And not just because they are statistically the weakest hitting team in the Major Leagues. Lincecum also banged out two hits himself Wednesday against San Diego pitching.

In fact, Lincecum said that he didn't really grasp what a special day he was having in the 4-0 victory until he reached base on his own hits. And in the immediate aftermath, he wasn't able to put much in perspective.

"When I'm older, I'll reflect on it more," Lincecum told reporters at a press session after the game.

All right, so let's do the reflecting for him.


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More than anything, Wednesday shows what the Giants were thinking when they re-signed Lincecum last winter to a two-year contract worth $35 million, despite his inconsistent recent seasons.

Lincecum, after winning two Cy Young Awards and becoming a poster child for two World Series champions, is the closest thing that Giants' fans have to an Elvis. They'll never forget how they felt when he sang for the first time. They'll show up to cheer him. And no matter how much he slips in his uneven performances as he grows older, they'll always recall when he was the king and pull for him to sing the way they know he can.

But man, is it entertaining, whatever happens.

(My personal luck with witnessing Lincecum no-hitters is just as capricious. Last summer, I was in San Diego on vacation and at the ballpark when Lincecum no-hit the Padres. But I didn't write about it because I was there as a beer-drinking fan. Wednesday, I had pondered going to AT&T but instead pursued another column topic -- until I heard about the ongoing no-hitter. I watched on television for the last several innings, was captivated by Elvis and since I wasn't drinking beer, decided to compose.)

San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum pitches the second no-hitter of his career against the San Diego Padres for a 4-0 win at AT&T Park in San
San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum pitches the second no-hitter of his career against the San Diego Padres for a 4-0 win at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. (John Green/Bay Area News Group) ( JOHN GREEN )

As usual, Lincecum did not follow convention Wednesday. A longtime baseball superstition is that if a pitcher is working on a no-hitter, he should go sit by himself in the dugout when he returns there every half-inning and speak to no teammates, so as not to jinx himself. Lincecum did just the opposite. He chatted up anybody and everybody and tried to stay mentally loose because he knew how close he was getting to history.

"I figure it's more awkward when you don't talk about it than when you do," Lincecum explained at his postgame presser.

They'll be talking about Wednesday for quite a while around McCovey Cove. Lincecum became the first San Francisco Giants pitcher to throw two no-hitters -- and he joined Hall of Fame arm Christy Mathewson (of the New York Giants) as the only other pitcher in franchise history to do so.

Following the game, Giants' manager Bruce Bochy addressed an impromptu clubhouse gathering and publicly thanked Lincecum for a low-stress day. A year ago in San Diego when Lincecum no-hit the Padres, he needed 148 pitches to do so. Bochy was placed in the tough position of deciding whether he was allowing Lincecum to go too long and possibly damage his shoulder or arm. Bochy nervously stuck with his man and it paid off.

Wednesday, Lincecum needed only 113 pitches to complete his masterpiece, allowing Bochy to relax and watch the show with everyone else. Padres' batters were so baffled by Lincecum, there were not any serious near-hits. And no Giants' fielders needed to pull off a miracle play and save the no-hitter. The only San Diego batter to reach base was Chase Headley, on a second-inning walk. Otherwise, Lincecum would have thrown a perfect game.

As it is, he merely joins the shortlist of 32 pitchers with two or more no-hitters. Oddly, that list includes far more players who are not in the Hall of Fame (Johnny Vander Meer, Don Wilson, Jim Maloney, et al) as those who are. However, if Lincecum ever pitches a third no-hitter, he will join the enormously small club of legends from the modern era who've done so -- Bob Feller, Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan. With Lincecum's other credentials as a two-time Cy Young winner and two-time World Series champ, a third no-hitter would surely have him sniffing Cooperstown.

So when does he face the Padres again?

Mike Krukow, the former Giants pitcher and current broadcaster, has called Lincecum "a gift to the Bay Area." Wednesday, he was the gift that kept on giving us his patented package of you-never-know-what-will-happen-next. It's why people will continue to line up and ride the Lincecum ride. You never want to miss what might be around the next curve.

Read Mark Purdy's blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/purdy. Contact him at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.