San Francisco Giants second baseman Joe Panik, seen here Aug. 21, continued his hot streak at the plate on Saturday. (Stan Olszewski/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Giants suffer tough loss to D’Backs

After his three-walk, four-run fifth inning doomed the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night, Johnny Cueto could only shrug.

“I don’t even know myself,” the right-hander explained via team translator Erwin Higueros. “It was a bad inning and I just don’t know. I don’t know what happened.”

The Giants entered the top of the fifth holding a 1-0 advantage, but then Cueto lost track of the strike zone. The D’Backs pushed across four runs, as Cueto dished out three walks — including one to Zack Greinke.

“It’s unfortunate because he was really throwing the ball well,” manager Bruce Bochy said after the 4-3 loss. “It just got away from him.”

The 4.2-inning start marked the shortest outing that Cueto has turned in since joining the Giants. The club has now lost six of his nine second-half outings, and his ERA stands at 4.25 during that stretch.

Joe Panik dented Greinke’s otherwise solid night in the bottom of the sixth, launching a ground-rule double into Triples Alley. The drive from Panik brought home Hunter Pence who went 3-for-3 against Greinke in his first start since injuring his hamstring on Thursday.

After Panik cut the deficit in half, the Giants had chances to pull closer in the seventh and eighth innings, but on both occasions the team hit into double plays. The second twin-killing was especially impressive as D’Backs second baseman Jean Segura made a behind-the-back glove flip to set up the double play on a Brandon Crawford grounder.

“A couple of double plays hurt tonight, but we hit some balls hard too,” Bochy said.

One of those hard-hit outs belonged to Buster Posey. After Angel Pagan brought the Giants to within a run with two outs in the ninth, Posey stepped to the plate. With Pagan at second representing the tying run, the catcher smashed a sharply hit grounder to Segura to end the rally.

“Buster smoked that ball at the end. [It] was just right at him,” Bochy said. “It would have been nice if that had got through, but I thought we had some pretty good at bats.

The Giants endured a rough night on the injury front, as well.

Gorkys Hernandez replaced Denard Span in the top of the seventh after the center fielder exited with stiff neck — an issue that has bothered him in the past.

“We’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow,” Bochy said. “This neck thing that’s come up before — I think in Arizona — it’s got to be a little bit concerning, but our hope is he’ll show up tomorrow and be fine.”

In the ninth, Sergio Romo also provided a health scare.

“I think he tweaked [his knee] there covering first,” Bochy said. “But I think he’s going to be fine tomorrow.”

Bochy also admitted that Pagan’s hamstring is not 100 percent. The left fielder was clearly taking it easy as he coasted into second base on his seventh-inning double.

“His hamstring is a little tight. It’s been there for a little bit, as you know. So, he was being a little cautious with it. The last thing that we needed was to lose him right now — as well as he’s playing.”Hunter PenceJoe PanikJohnny Cuetokarl buscheckMLBSan Francisco GiantsZack Greinke

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