It’s June 17 and Matt Cain is still stuck on one victory this season. He’s officially having a bad year.
And the Giants are officially in a June Swoon.
Cain lacked command, the Chicago White Sox tagged him for eight runs in five innings and the Giants offense went from percolating to pallid in a 8-2 loss on the South Side of Chicago Tuesday night.
The Giants lost for the seventh time in eight games and were without Angel Pagan, who had an MRI exam that showed inflammation but no structural damage in his back.
Starting pitching report
Cain had lively stuff but not much precision in the early innings. Then after logging a lot of pitches, the stuff sagged and it got ugly from there.
He allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and a walk, surrendered a pair of home runs and struck out three.
Perhaps the biggest at-bat of the game was Gordon Beckham’s tying, two-run home run in the third inning, which came on the ninth pitch of a spirited confrontation. It was as if Cain’s stuff and shoulders slumped after that.
The White Sox scored three runs in the fourth and Cain’s biggest mistake was a bases-loaded walk to Tyler Flowers with two outs that plated the tiebreaking run. Flowers, it should be pointed out, entered with an AL-high 79 strikeouts in 184 at-bats.
It got worse from there. Shortstop Brandon Crawford barehanded Eaton’s slow roller and tried to prevent a run with an off-balance throw, but it was an ill-advised attempt. Eaton had it beaten for a single anyway, and instead of one run scoring, two crossed the plate because of Crawford’s error.
Adam Dunn hit an RBI single and Dayan Viciedo hammered a changeup for a two-run home run as the White Sox scored three more in the fifth.
You can bet Cain will work on throwing from the stretch in his next bullpen. The White Sox were 4-for-15 out of the windup against Cain but 6 for 9 with two homers and a walk against him from the stretch. A big tipoff that Cain wasn’t comfortable in the stretch: He threw from the windup with runners at second and third in the fourth, when he got Beckham to line out.
Cain finished the day with a 4.52 ERA – and one victory in 11 starts.
Yusmeiro Petit grabbed a mop.
At the plate
Hunter Pence opened the scoring with a solo home run in the first inning and Buster Posey made it a 2-0 lead when he yanked an RBI single in the third off left-hander John Danks.
But Danks settled down and began to throw his breaking pitches for strikes. The Giants fell to 30-9 when they score first.
Hector Sanchez literally got knocked on his backside by a foul tip and appeared to be holding his head in the dugout, but he remained in the game. The Giants would have lost the DH if they had moved Buster Posey behind the plate.
Posey, you’ll recall, left Sunday’s game in the fourth inning after taking a hard foul tip off the mask that gave him a headache. Let’s hope the Giants aren’t holding their $166 million catcher to a different standard than their catcher who’s making $512,000.
It was a difficult flight to Chicago and it had to be an emotional moment for Bruce Bochy and Tim Flannery when the White Sox held a moment of silence in memory of Tony Gwynn, who died Monday. Bochy was Gwynn’s teammate and later managed him with the San Diego Padres.
The Giants and White Sox complete their two-game series on the South Side of Chicago on Wednesday. Tim Hudson (7-2, 1.81 ERA) faces White Sox left-hander Chris Sale (5-1, 1.97). First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. PDT.