For the second straight start, Matt Cain was the tough-luck loser as the Giants fell to the San Diego Padres 2-1 on Friday night.
Cain turned in another outstanding start, but the offense failed to make a dent against Tyson Ross, who shut-out San Francisco in eight innings.
The Padres got on the board right away against Cain. With one out in the bottom of the first, Chris Denorfia tripled to right-center field. Cain got Seth Smith to ground out, but with two outs and Jedd Gyorko at the plate, Cain threw a pitch that Hector Sanchez couldn’t handle. It squirted away, and Denorfia came in to score, giving San Diego a 1-0 lead.
After that passed ball, Cain settled in to pitch a brilliant game for the Giants. He threw 104 pitches (70 strikes) in seven innings, allowing four hits, no earned runs, two walks, and striking out eight. This is the second start in a row that the right-hander has taken the loss in a 1-0 game. Last Saturday he tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Colorado Rockies. Unfortunately for Cain, the Giants couldn’t provide him with any run support then either, and he’s now 0-3 with a 2.88 ERA in 2014.
Cain is used to not getting much run support over the course of his career. Of his 269 starts, this was the 101 time that he’s pitched and received three or fewer runs from his offense (per Hank Schulman). Since 2005, he has 28 starts in which he’s thrown seven innings, allowed one or no runs, and not gotten the win. The only pitcher with more? Felix Hernandez with 29.
Unfortunately for Cain and the Giants, Ross was even better on Friday night. The young right-hander owned the San Francisco line-up, throwing just 100 pitches over eight shut-out innings. He allowed only four hits and one walk while striking out nine. Ross is now 2-2 with a 2.13 ERA on the young season.
San Diego tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth when Yasmani Grandal took Juan Gutierrez deep to extend the lead to 2-0.
San Francisco tried to claw their way back into the game in the top of the ninth. With one out, Brandon Belt launched his sixth home run of the year off of Houston Street. Hunter Pence drew a two-out walk, but Hector Sanchez struck out for the third time, ending the game.
For the Giants, this marks their first loss in a series opener in 2014. They’ll look to rebound tomorrow when they send their new ace Tim Hudson to the mound to face Eric Stults at 5:40.