SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Starting pitchers are generally going to take at least one ugly beating in spring training, but no one saw a train wreck coming for the Giants' Matt Cain on Saturday.
Cain had been almost unhittable in his first two spring outings, allowing just one hit, no walks and striking out nine over eight innings of work.
But nothing was working for the right-hander against the A's at Scottsdale Stadium in an 8-1 Giants defeat. In just 22/3 innings, Cain gave up six hits, three walks, hit a batter and was tagged for seven earned runs, including long home runs by Oakland's Luke Montz and Stephen Vogt.
Cause for alarm? While discouraged, Cain didn't think so.
"I couldn't find a good rhythm," he said. "I got behind in the count a lot, got in a lot of hitter's counts. You might make some different pitches during the season, but you still have to throw good strikes. I threw a couple that weren't very good."
"He was just off today, that was pretty evident from the start," said manager Bruce Bochy. "He wasn't getting the ball where he wanted, he was up, he had trouble getting his secondary pitches over. He'd been so right on, throwing the ball very well. He was just off."
Cain admitted it was a bit of a shock to have such a rough day after being so stellar in his first two appearances.
"You never go out there and expect to throw bad like that, but it happens, and you just want to get it out of the way," he said.
Cain said he felt fine physically and had no indication warming up in the bullpen that things would come unraveled the way they did. But he claimed he wouldn't lose much sleep wondering what adjustments might have to be made.
"You're going to have weird days in spring, and you just kind of let it go," he said. "Sure, there are things you're going to think about, but it's not back to the drawing board."
Romo's slider has pretty much been missing in action this spring as he has sought to work on other pitches, notably a changeup. Bochy was glad to see the old Romo.
"Even though it's spring training, you want to get your confidence going, too," Bochy said. "After a couple of rough outings, to throw the way he did today, it should do a lot for his confidence."
Bochy added that it was important for Romo to start throwing all of his pitches at this point in the spring.
"We're roughly two weeks away," he said. "It's time to start fine-tuning your whole repertoire."
Marco Scutaro also took batting practice and did infield work for the fourth straight day and appeared on track to face live pitching early in the week, most likely in a minor league game.
"When he was swinging, I asked him and he said he felt good," Bochy said.
"I think (pitcher Mike) Kickham hit the best ball of the day (a double to center)," Bochy said. "That's not good."
Actually, Hunter Pence probably hit the best ball -- a home run to left in the sixth inning for the only Giants run. It was Pence's third homer in two days.
The Giants did play a split-squad game in Peoria and beat the Seattle Mariners 13-6, with Juan Perez collecting three hits, including a home run and a double.
"I kept the wrong guys," the manager joked.
Follow Carl Steward on Twitter at twitter.com/stewardsfolly.