SAN FRANCISCO -- Asked about potential trade deadline moves, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Sunday morning that his lineup is pretty much set and the starting rotation doesn't need an overhaul.

Then Bochy switched gears.

"You look in the bullpen," he said. "That's where we need some help."

The Giants again struggled in the late innings in a 7-2 loss to the Miami Marlins, but that was far from the only problem Sunday, or during the team's first losing homestand since last summer. The Giants managed just 20 runs while going 3-4 during a homestand against the Marlins and San Diego Padres, who rank ninth and 13th in the National League, respectively, in team ERA.

San Francisco Giants’ Gregor Blanco hits an infield single during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Sunday, June 23,
San Francisco Giants' Gregor Blanco hits an infield single during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Sunday, June 23, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) ( Marcio Jose Sanchez )

"I don't think anybody in here is going to make excuses," catcher Buster Posey said. "We just didn't play well."

That's been a trend against the league's weakest teams this season. The Giants are just 13-17 against teams with losing records at the time and dropped three of four to the Marlins, who have the worst record (25-50) in baseball.

The Marlins jumped ahead early on Sunday, getting a homer from Justin Ruggiano on Matt Cain's second pitch of the game. An RBI double by Marcell Ozuna added another run in the fourth, and the Marlins went up 3-0 in the sixth. The Giants got a run back in the bottom of the inning when pinch-hitter Tony Abreu hit a leadoff triple and scored on Marco Scutaro's ground out.


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Hunter Pence led off the seventh with a home run, ending the Giants' 90-inning homer drought. Bochy said he isn't worried about the paucity of homers, pointing out that the Giants have still scored plenty of runs by executing and stringing together rallies.

They did neither in the late innings Sunday. A walk of Brandon Belt and a single by Andres Torres put runners on first and third with one out in the seventh, but pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias hit into a double play.

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain throws to the Miami Marlins during the first  inning of a baseball game on Sunday, June 23, 2013, in San
San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain throws to the Miami Marlins during the first inning of a baseball game on Sunday, June 23, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) ( Marcio Jose Sanchez )

The Giants threatened again in the eighth, starting with Gregor Blanco's one-out infield single. Scutaro lined a ball to right and tried to take second when the throw from Giancarlo Stanton went through to third base, but Scutaro was thrown out when Marlins third baseman Ed Lucas alertly made a strong throw back to second. Posey followed with a ground out that stranded another runner at third. The Giants were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position on Sunday and 4 for 32 in the series.

Bochy and Posey both said they didn't believe the lineup was pressing to make up for recent injuries. Cain laid the team-wide struggles out in simple terms.

"We didn't get the job done," he said. "We didn't get guys in like we needed to, and we didn't throw like we needed to."

The Giants will get a boost in the first category on Monday when Pablo Sandoval comes off the disabled list for the opener of a three-game series with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It certainly should do something for the club," Bochy said. "We need a lift right now."

Nick Noonan was sent back to Triple-A Fresno to make room for Sandoval, and another transaction could be on the way. Right-hander Chad Gaudin (elbow contusion) didn't throw his scheduled bullpen session Sunday and is questionable to start Tuesday. Left-hander Mike Kickham is the leading candidate to take Gaudin's place if a spot starter is needed.

Several in the losing clubhouse pointed out that the Giants need a spark, whether it comes from Sandoval, Kickham or somebody else. Many unlikely players have provided that this season, including Jean Machi. But the right-hander's downward spiral continued in the ninth when he gave up four runs to turn a 3-2 game into a laugher.

The loss clinched the Giants' first losing homestand since they went 3-7 at AT&T Park from July 23 to Aug. 2 last season.

The eventual champions responded to that stretch by taking five of seven on the next trip.

Bochy said the upcoming 10-game road set against the Dodgers, Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds is critical. Posey echoed his manager.

"It's time to crank it up a little bit and play with a sense of urgency," he said.

  • Angel Pagan (left hamstring strain) expects to see a specialist in Los Angeles on Monday. Pagan is still trying to determine if surgery is needed.

  • Posey had been leading the National League in All-Star votes throughout the process but now trails St. Louis' Yadier Molina by about 90,000 votes. Sandoval, who spent all of the latest voting period on the D.L., was passed by New York Mets' third baseman David Wright.

    For more on the Giants, see Alex Pavlovic's Giants Extra blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/Giants.

    Monday's game

    Giants (Madison Bumgarner 7-4) at Los Angeles Dodgers (Hyun-Jin Ryu 6-3), 7:10 p.m. CSNBA