ST. LOUIS Matt Cain isnt perfect any longer. Far from it.
The Giants right-hander couldnt reward manager Bruce Bochys faith and escape the sixth inning Monday night. He labored while giving up five runs in 5 23 innings to a hot Cardinals lineup, as pinch hitter Matt Carpenter breached the hull with a two-out, bases-loaded single, and the Giants lost 8-2 at Busch Stadium.
Cain is officially in a slump -- especially on the road, where he has served up six home runs in his last three starts.
The Giants were 10-3 in Cains first 13 outings, culminating with his perfect game on June 13. They are 3-6 in his nine starts since the 125-pitch perfecto, and hes 2-3 with a rather pedestrian 4.40 ERA over that span.
He has allowed 10 home runs over those nine starts.
Cain gave up just nine home runs all of last season.
Starting pitching report
Carlos Beltran hit the 17th homer off Cain in 2012, going deep for his 26th of the season to start the second inning. The Cardinals set themselves up for another run when David Freese walked and took third on Jon Jays single. Rafael Furcal worked Cain for a 10-pitch at-bat that ended when he served a slider up the middle for an RBI single.
Cain retired 10 of the next 11 hitters and the Giants tied it on Buster Poseys home run in the sixth.
But Cain ran into trouble in the bottom of the sixth when Matt Holliday roped a leadoff double. Beltran followed with a deep fly ball and Holliday tagged up, barely sliding ahead of the tag at third base despite a remarkably strong throw from Angel Pagan in center field. Freese followed with a tiebreaking sacrifice fly.
With two outs and the bases empty, Cain couldnt get his team back into the dugout with a one-run deficit. Yadier Molina and Jay both singled on changeups and Furcal worked Cain hard again while drawing a walk to load the bases.
Cain was at 111 pitches, but with George Kontos good and warm, manager Bruce Bochy decided to stay with his decorated right-hander. Pinch hitter Matt Carpenter, who was 3 for 3 off Cain, made it 4 for 4 when the left-handed hitter reached out and lined a 1-2 fastball to left field. The two-run single sent Cain to the dugout trailing 5-2.
Shane Loux picked a bad time to burp up a three-run eighth inning. Loux could be transformed into a full-figured Venezuelan left-hander as early as today. The Giants will have to create a 25-man roster vacancy to add Jose Mijares, whom the Giants were awarded on a waiver claim from the Kansas City Royals.
At the plate
Angel Pagan hit his second leadoff home run of the season and the fourth of his career, but the Giants didnt score again off sinkerballer Jake Westbrook until Buster Posey parked one in the sixth.
Poseys home run was his fourth in five games; hes homered in each of his last four starts at catcher.
The Giants failed to execute in the fourth, though, when Melky Cabrera (who collected his major league best 150th and 151st hits) hit a leadoff single and Posey followed with another. Hunter Pence flied out to shallow left field, Marco Scutaro tapped out to the mound and Brandon Belt grounded out to second base to strand two runners in scoring position.
In the seventh inning, Shane Loux had Carlos Beltran picked off first base with runners at the corners. Loux smartly held onto the ball to make Beltran commit, which is all fine and good -- unless the pitcher proceeds to throw to the wrong base. Loux fired to second as Betran easily retreated to first.
The Cardinals announced 38,652 paid on a less than entirely insufferable night at Busch Stadium in August. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies sellout streak ended after 257 games an NL record. Thus, the Giants hold the longest current sellout streak by an NL club, at 139 games.
The Giants continue their four-game series at Busch Stadium on Tuesday night. Barry Zito (8-8, 4.27) is 0-3 with an 11.35 ERA in three starts at Busch Stadium. He faces right-hander Lance Lynn (13-4, 3.40), who is getting the best average run support of any NL pitcher.