Instead they ran into the buzz saw that is Tim Lincecum.
The right-hander was masterful through 8 1/3 innings as the Giants stymied the D-backs, 6-2, Monday night at AT&T Park.
The loss was the 11th in the last 14 games for the D-backs. Arizona missed an opportunity to cut into the first-place Dodgers' 1 1/2-game division lead as Los Angeles fell, 4-0, to the Padres.
"We have to worry about us," D-backs catcher Miguel Montero said. "We have to win. We can't care about them. We have to care about winning and come tomorrow and play hard and do our job."
Lack of effort was not the issue Monday. Rather, it was the way Lincecum mixed his fastball and changeup to befuddle the Arizona hitters.
"He's starting to learn how to pitch and is mixing up his pitches," Montero said. "He was nasty, man. I tip my hat."
The D-backs did not get a runner to third base against Lincecum until the seventh, when Mark Reynolds was left stranded there.
Finally, in the ninth, Arizona was able to get something going against him as Adam Dunn singled and Conor Jackson doubled with one out.
A walk to Reynolds to load the bases meant an end to Lincecum's night at 127 pitches. It was the longest outing of his young career.
"Obviously, you don't want to get shut out and you'd like to see him not finish the game, so in that respect we got a couple of runs there at the end, but obviously not enough," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said.
The two runs came when pinch-hitter Jamie D'Antona greeted reliever Alex Hinshaw with a grounder to first that the Giants were not able to get a double play on, and when the ball got by Hinshaw, who was covering first, a second run scored.
All of it was too little, too late, because the Giants were able to rough up Arizona starter Yusmeiro Petit, scoring five runs off the right-hander in the third inning. The big blow was a three-run homer by Bengie Molina.
"He was leaving everything up and we couldn't find a pitch to put away hitters," Montero said. "We couldn't find it. We tried everything. We tried a curveball, change, cutter. None of those pitches was working and he got hit."
The D-backs offense has scored a combined seven runs during the four-game losing streak, facing pitchers Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw and Lincecum.
Those guys aren't slouches, but the D-backs are going to have to get the offense going if they hope to challenge the Dodgers down the stretch.
"He pitched an amazing game," Arizona center fielder Chris Young said of Lincecum. "There's no doubt he's a great pitcher. But lately for us, no matter what, we've got to find a way. No matter who's out there on the mound, if it's Lincecum or [Jake] Peavy or Lowe or whoever, we need to find a way.
"It's frustrating right now because we've been battling our butts off, no doubt about it. We're not getting the results that we want. It's not like we're not out there trying. It's just things aren't falling into place right now and we really need to find a way to turn it around."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.