SAN FRANCISCO - The D-Backs tweaked their lineup in deference to San Francisco starter Jason Schmidt on Wednesday but could not goose their results.
While manager Bob Melvin kept Shawn Green and his strong career numbers against Schmidt — 14 of 29, three home runs — in the cleanup spot for the second straight game and slid Troy Glaus to fifth, nothing seemed to matter against a suddenly reenergized Schmidt.
Schmidt showed no signs of a horrible two-month slump that included time on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain, giving up five hits while pitching into the ninth inning of a 4-0 victory before 36,349 fans at SBC Park.
"He's pitching a little differently. He throws a lot of change-ups now,'' D-Backs manager Bob Melvin said. "He threw a bunch of them. Effective, though. "He's changing his style. But it doesn't matter how you get them out, and he sure did it for a large portion of the game.''
The D-Backs' radar gun showed Schmidt a few miles under his normal 96 mph fastball, but he still had Arizona’s number.
Schmidt, the 2003 NL Cy Young runner-up, won his seventh straight game against the D-Backs while becoming the first pitcher to strike out 10 against them this season. He has not lost in the series since Sept. 5, 2002.
"He controlled the game tonight,'' San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said. "He threw hard when he wanted to. His change-up is back and his breaking ball is good.''
The D-Backs (36-37) might be watching the maturation and natural transformation of yet another power pitcher.
Randy Johnson added a split-finger fastball in his last couple of years with the D-Backs. Curt Schilling threw many more sliders after moving to the American League last season.
"The good ones do (change),'' Melvin said. "That's exactly what happens with good pitchers. They learn to pitch a little bit differently. You always have to add to the mix to make adjustments to get guys out.''
Schmidt (5-3) struck out Glaus and Jose Cruz Jr. three times apiece and got Chad Tracy twice after Tracy got the D-Backs' only extra- base hit, a double in the second inning.
Schmidt struck out the side in the second around Tracy's walk and an intentional walk to Kelly Stinnett, the only inning the D-Backs had two runners on base.
He struck out seven of the 13 batters he faced starting with the second out in the fourth inning.
"His change-up is his best pitch,'' said Tracy. "He throws it when he is ahead, and he was ahead all night.''
The D-Backs had only two hits after the fifth inning, Quinton McCracken's pinch single with one out in the eighth and Luis Gonzalez's single to right to open the ninth, one pitch after Schmidt threw a fastball way over catcher Mike Matheny and all the way to the backstop.
D-Backs starter Brad Halsey (4-6) gave up only one run until the seventh, when the Giants bunched three singles and a Glaus throwing error to score their final three runs. The Giants got their first run with three singles in the second. Moises Alou singled to center and took third on Todd Linden's one-out, hit-and-run single to center. Jason Ellison pushed a bunt toward first and Alou scored just ahead of Tracy's throw.
Halsey was as crisp as he had been earlier in the season, throwing first-pitch strikes to 11 of the first 12 batters he faced. He did not reach a three-ball count until his first walk, in the fourth.
"I'm not happy with the results, but that being said I got back to being aggressive,'' said Halsey, who had given up 16 earned runs in his last 14 innings.
"It's a mentality that I have to take out there to be successful, and I hadn't had it my last three games, but it's getting better. It is a matter of going after these guys, and whatever happens, happens. Don't hope they are not going to hit the ball hard. Don't hope they are going to make plays. I have to be the aggressor.''