AT&T PARK — When Matt Cain took the mound Tuesday night to Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” one thought went through this writer’s mind:
“The Horse” had better pitch at least seven scoreless innings to make for his goofy choice of warm-up music.
Sadly, it didn’t happen. At least, not the scoreless part.
Cain indeed pitched seven innings strong, and the Giants looked as though they would make another late come-from-behind surge like they had the night before.
But the Giants’ troubles scoring runs with men on base was coupled with a pair of big league errors as they dropped Tuesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, 3-1.
Not that Cain (7-7, 4.47) didn’t have a solid outing, giving up four hits and two earned runs in seven innings with six strikeouts. Manager Bruce Bochy said of his performance, and of the starting rotation in general:
Giants manager Bruce Bochy
Video: CSN Bay Area
“Matty threw great. He did a nice job out there. … The pitching, that’s what’s been what’s been so encouraging. The way they’re throwing the ball. Right now, we have some guys that are just cold with the bat.”
Milwaukee took an early lead on a solo shot from Carlos Gomez in the second inning that cleared the Budweiser sign in left field and gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Brewers started the fourth with a lead-off double by Norichika Aoki. After Aoki advanced to third on fielder’s choice, a Posey throwing error to third eluded Sandoval, scoring Aoki for Milwaukee’s second run.
San Francisco’s bats stayed quiet through five innings, as the home team only tallied two hits off of right-hander Wily Peralta (8-11, 4.42).
The Giants mounted threats in the third and fifth innings, but fell flat with runners in scoring position.
Finally, following the seventh inning stretch, Brandon Belt led the Giants off with a double off of the right field bricks. On the next at-bat, Roger Kieschnick tapped the ball to pitcher Peralta, whose unsure footing left him unable to make the play at first, putting runners on first and third with no outs.
Following a pitching change, Brandon Kintzler got Joaquin Arias to ground out to first but allowed Belt to score, cutting San Francisco’s deficit in half, 2-1.
The Giants mounted another threat in the eighth as Brandon Crawford doubled high off the wall in right-center and for a moment it appeared he hit a game-tying home run.
But the meat of the order failed to bring him home. Hunter Pence lined out to right, Buster Posey grounded to short, and Pablo Sandoval flied out to shallow left.
San Francisco was 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position leaving eight men on base and 17 over the past two games.
Bochy said that the lack of timely hits has “run rampant” through the lineup:
“We’ve been in the position to win so many of these games. We need to have somebody come through for us, and that was missing again. … Hard to explain when you go through something like this, we went 1-for-13 last night and then couldn’t get a hit tonight. …We were in great position two or three times tonight, we just couldn’t cash in.”
The Brewers, put an insurance run on the board after a Joaquin Arias error at second opened the door for a Jonathan Lucroy sac-fly increased their lead to 3-1.
The Giants will try and snatch another win from the Brewers Wednesday night, sending Madison Bumgarner (11-6, 2.69) to the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Giants have now dropped 11 of their last 16 and 16 of their last 26. … The Giants are now 1-4 this season with the Brewers. … Cain has held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in each of his starts since the All Star break. … Giants starting pitchers have tossed quality starts in six of their last seven games. … During this seven-game stretch they have yielded just ten earned runs in 47.0 innings… Tuesday’s outing marked Cain’s third-consecutive quality start and 14th of the season… Hunter Pence went 0-for-4 Tuesday night, snapping a 17-game streak of reaching base safely via hit, walk or HBP. … Pence has started in 121-consecutive games, which is the longest streak in the NL… Giants lead-off batters have combined to go just 0-for-their-last-18 and 6-for-68 with just four runs scored from the lead-off spot since the All Star break. … Marco Scutaro finished 0-4 Tuesday night, and is now 0-for-9 as a lead-off batter in two games this season. … Scutaro is hitting .228 (13-for-57) with one extra base hit and no RBIs since the All-Star break. … Brandon Crawford finished 2-for-4 Tuesday night with a double … he has reached base in 11-of-his-last-16 plate appearances. … Roger Kieschnick has hit safely in five of six games since joining the Giants from Triple-A Fresno. … Kieschnick is batting .381 (8-for-21) with three RBIs over his first six games… The Giants finished 1-for-9 with RISP and left eight men on base Tuesday night. … Buster Posey is now 1-for-his-last-11 with RISP and is just 5-for-his-last-23 in such situations.