Matt Cain continued his second-half turnaround at AT&T Park on Tuesday, but the Giants couldn't muster enough offense to earn him a win.
The Giants' bats sputtered again with men on base, going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position en route to a 3-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. In the past two games, the Giants have left 17 runners on base.
“A lot of these games, we're getting them out there. We just got to have somebody clutch up and get a timely hit,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “There's a fine line between winning and losing.”
With the loss, the Giants (50-62) remain 12 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West standings. They're trailing the Cincinnati Reds by 11½ games in the wild-card race.
Cain (7-7) put together another ace-like performance, holding the Brewers to two earned runs on four hits over seven innings of work. After lasting only 2/3 of an inning against the New York Mets on July 10, Cain is 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA in four starts after the All-Star break.
“He did a nice job out there,” Bochy said. “Got us deep in the game.”
The right-hander gave up two costly hits on Tuesday: a home run to Carlos Gomez in the second inning and a double to Norichika Aoki in the fourth. Aoki, who moved over to third on a fielder's choice, eventually scored after catcher Buster Posey threw a pickoff attempt into left field.
In what has become a familiar theme at AT&T Park this season, the Giants failed to cash in on numerous scoring opportunities. Marco Scutaro stranded runners at second and third in the fifth inning and he left Roger Kieschnick at third in the seventh.
Scutaro went 0-for-4 on the night and is now 0-for-9 since he moved to the leadoff spot. Since the All-Star break, Giants leadoff men are a combined 6-for-70, batting .086.
“I'll probably give him a day off tomorrow,” Bochy said. “He needs a break.”
Bochy suggested the aches and pains might be catching up with the 37-year-old second baseman after 97 games.
“I know he's dealt with the hip, the back a little bit,” he said. “He's not one to ever make excuses or talk about [it]. He wants to be out there for the team, he wants to win. But it's time to take it out of his hands and give him a break.”
The Giants cut the lead to 2-1 in the seventh after Brandon Belt doubled into the right field corner and Kieschnick reached base on an infield single off Brewers starter Wily Peralta's foot. Belt eventually scored on a fielder's choice groundout by Joaquin Arias.
But the Giants flubbed a chance to tie the game in the eighth after Brandon Crawford led off with a double that hit the top of the brick wall in right. After Hunter Pence moved Crawford to third on a flyball, Posey grounded out to short and Pablo Sandoval popped out to left.
Bochy said his team is having trouble catching up with the fastball right now.
“The bats, to be honest, look a little slow,” he said. “I don't know if, you know, they're a little tired now. We are in August.”
The Brewers added a run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly.
Belt provided the only bright spot for the Giants, going 1-for-3. He's now 7-for-13 in the month of August.