SAN FRANCISCO -- Had he operated at peak efficiency Wednesday night, Tim Lincecum might have struggled to retire Paul Goldschmidt.
But, as Lincecum himself admitted, "I tried to do my best and today fell completely short of that."
So you can guess what transpired at AT&T Park.
Goldschmidt maintained his uncanny dominance against Lincecum, driving in four runs with a first-inning, three-run homer and a third-inning sacrifice fly to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Giants, 7-3.
Goldschmidt, who owns a career .542 batting average (13-for-24) with seven home runs and 17 RBIs off Lincecum, didn't merely hit an ordinary home run. After Lincecum yielded Gerardo Parra's triple and walked Martin Prado to start the game, Goldschmidt drove a 1-1 fastball into the right-field arcade -- an area reached by relatively few right-handed batters. It was only the 22nd opposite-field homer hit by a visiting right-handed batter since AT&T Park opened in 2000.
Arizona led, 3-1, when Goldschmidt next faced Lincecum. Parra singled, advanced to third base on Prado's single and scored on Goldschmidt's drive to medium-deep right field.
Lincecum yielded seven runs and seven hits in four innings, proving that Goldschmidt wasn't his only problem.
"I made a lot of mistakes today," Lincecum said. "He was up there with four guys on in two at-bats."
The right-hander explained that a significant flaw in his pitching mechanics affected his deliveries. Lincecum said the positioning of his shoulders was such that when he threw, "it felt more like sidearm than over the top." This robbed his fastball of movement and, he said, "all my secondary pitches were pretty flat."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy noticed.
"He was off all night. That was pretty evident," Bochy said. "... From the get-go, you could tell he had trouble getting the ball where he wanted. He didn't have good stuff or command."
Lincecum's competitive nature remained intact. He didn't consider evading Goldschmidt by pitching around him.
"I had to get my out any way I could," he said.
Nor did Lincecum sound reluctant to confront Goldschmidt again, which at the earliest can happen during the Giants' next series at Arizona, June 20-22.
"I know he has some holes here and there, but I have to mix up my pitch routines," Lincecum said.
Goldschmidt remained genuinely respectful of the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
"You know Lincecum is a very good pitcher," he said. "You just go up there and try to have a good at-bat and try to hit the ball hard. Fortunately, I was able to get one there in the first inning. No matter who's out there, it doesn't change. You try to have a good at-bat, try to keep it simple and hit the ball hard."
Goldschmidt also took care not to anger the baseball gods, who don't react kindly to players crowing over excessive achievement.
"Obviously I've had success right now, but that can change in a hurry," he said. "There's plenty of guys that maybe you start off hot [against] and then all of a sudden you don't get a hit. That's how baseball is -- or vice-versa. Maybe there's a guy you don't hit very well and then for some reason you get a few hits off him. We're taking a small sample size here. It's really not anything I think about."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson followed the same approach.
"You hope that the streak can continue, but at the same time you respect Tim Lincecum and what he's accomplished and what kind of pitcher he is," Gibson said. "He's capable of shutting you down. You have to respect that and be on your toes to try and beat that young man."
Suddenly renowned for their offense, the Giants distinguished themselves at the plate. They just didn't do it often enough. Michael Morse hit a titanic second-inning home run to left field and Buster Posey lined his third homer of the season over the left-field wall in the fifth, both off D-backs starter Bronson Arroyo. Center fielder Angel Pagan sustained his remarkable production from the leadoff spot, going 3-for-5 to raise his batting average to .462 (18-for-39).