Matt Cain was very un-Cain like and the Giants bats stayed cold as they fell to the Washington Nationals 6-2.
The top of the first went about as poorly as the Giants could’ve imagined. Cain walked Denard Span, Anthony Rendon, and Jayson Werth back-to-back-to-back to load the bases with no outs. Adam LaRoche made him pay, as he laced a single up the middle to score two. Ryan Zimmerman followed it up with a ground out to score Werth, and just like that it was 3-0 Washington. Cain also walked Danny Espinosa with two outs, and while he got out of it without further damage, the four walks allowed in a single inning was a career-high for Cain.
“His command was just off,” Bochy said post-game. “That’s unlike him to walk three guys there. I’ve said this before, that first inning is a critical inning. You’re trying to get settled, get locked in, hit your spots. And he just had a tough spot there.”
The Giants got one of the runs back in the fourth when Buster Posey stretched is hitting streak to nine games with a lead-off single into center. Brandon Crawford, in his new position of sixth in the batting order, crushed his fifth triple of the year to left-center to make it 3-1. The five three-baggers are tied for a career-high for Crawford, lead the Giants, and are tied for second in the National League (behind Dee Gordon, who has six).
Cain (1-4, 3.84) settled in but gave up a solo home run to Werth with one out in the fifth. Overall, the right-hander went five innings, allowing three hits, four runs, five walks, and striking out four. He wasn’t happy with putting his team in an early deficit.
“For some reason I couldn’t get the ball on the plate. I was a few inches off on both sides of the plate, and I missed badly with some of them. I really put our guys behind the eight-ball there, and it was too much of a deficit to try and come back from. It wasn’t a good spot. I needed a better start than that.”
Tanner Roark (5-4, 2.92) put together another impressive start. He wasn’t as dominant as his last start – eight innings against the Padres, no runs, 11 strikeouts – but he was quality against the Giants. Roark went six innings, giving up seven hits, two runs, no walks, and striking out four on 95 pitches (61 strikes). The Giants did manage to tag Washington pitching for eight hits, but for just the third time this season, San Francisco lost a game in which they out-hit their opponent.
The second run the Giants were able to scratch across against the Nationals right-hander came in the bottom of the seventh when Brandon Hicks led off the inning with a bunt single up the third base line. Gregor Blanco followed it up with another single, and Hicks eventually scored when pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval – who was scratched from the starting line-up with the flu – delivered an RBI single to right.
Washington took advantage of more Giant walks in the top of the ninth and tacked on two more runs. With Yusmeiro Petit pitching and one out, Jose Lobaton singled. With two outs, Petit then walked Span and Rendon to load the bases before allowing a two-run single up the middle off the bat of Werth.
Wednesday’s loss brought the Giants current losing streak to three, which matches a season-high (April 17-19), however they still hold the best record in baseball at 42-24. With the Dodgers losing in Cincinnati earlier in the day, San Francisco still maintains a seven-and-a-half game lead in the West. Despite the skid, Bochy isn’t worried about his team yet.
“We’ve hit a little bump here in the road, and you’re gonna have that. What’s important is how we deal with it now.”
Tim Hudson (6-2, 1.97) will look to help his team avoid a four-game sweep tomorrow as he faces off against Jorge De La Rosa (6-5, 4.04) at 12:45 PT.