CHICAGO -- Not even a return to interleague play Tuesday could end the Giants' current skid.
Matt Cain was shelled in an 8-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, giving up a season-high eight runs on 10 hits. The Giants had been 6-0 through their first two rounds of interleague action, sweeping the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins at home.
The first night in an American League park this season was a nightmare for the Giants, who have dropped seven of eight.
Cain has taken two of the losses during the run, giving up 11 earned runs over 10 innings. He didn't provide specifics when asked what needed to be fixed moving forward.
"The biggest thing is just location," Cain said.
He missed repeatedly in the middle innings, and the slugging White Sox jumped all over him.
The blowout actually got off to a good start, with Hunter Pence hitting a solo homer in the first and Buster Posey driving in a run in the third. But Cain couldn't hold the lead for long. With two out and one on in the third, Cain grooved a 3-2 fastball to Gordon Beckham and didn't even watch as the ball sailed out of the park.
The floodgates burst in the fourth, an inning that started with three of the first four White Sox reaching on singles. With the bases loaded, Cain walked catcher Tyler Flowers, who had been hitless in his previous 23 at-bats with 19 strikeouts. Speedy leadoff hitter Adam Eaton hit a slow roller to short that Brandon Crawford barehanded but threw away. Two runs came across on the infield single and error, giving the White Sox a 5-2 lead.
"He got off to a good start," manager Bruce Bochy said of Cain. "The first two innings, he looked really sharp and looked on track. He ended up giving up the homer (to Beckham) and he just got derailed. The stuff flattened out and they took advantage of Matty being wild in the zone.
"What happened? I can't tell you, to be honest."
Bochy has long referred to Cain as his "horse"-- he did again after Tuesday's game -- and he sent Cain out for the fifth. After two singles and a wild pitch added up to a sixth run, Cain hung a changeup to Dayan Viciedo that was supposed to be down in the dirt. The right fielder hit a no-doubter high up the left field seats.
Cain said he felt fine on the mound, but admitted at times he didn't get the ball down in the zone enough, or in on hitters' hands.
"I felt confident in everything I was throwing," he said. "It was a really bad changeup to Viciedo. The other ones weren't terrible but they caught too much plate, and they're going to take advantage of it."
Cain dropped to 1-5 and his ERA ticked up to 4.52. The starters have a 5.25 ERA during the eight-game stretch, but Tim Hudson, the best of the bunch this season, takes the ball Wednesday in the second game of a short two-game series. Even with Hudson on the mound, the Giants still face an uphill battle. They'll face Chris Sale (1.97 ERA, 0.67 WHIP), a hard-throwing All-Star who might be the best left-hander in the game.
Bochy was in the opposing dugout when Sale pitched for the American League All-Star team last year. What memory stood out to Bochy?
"I had one hitter say, 'I hope I don't have to face Sale,' " he said Tuesday.
"We're trying to get this under control," Bochy said. "He was making a little progress, but not as much as we would hope."
Pagan has been out of the starting lineup 14 times this season, most often because of a sore right knee.
"He was a great ambassador for the game," Bochy said. "We know what a great player he was and hitter (but) I'm happy he's getting recognized as a tremendous person."
Giants (Tim Hudson 7-2)
at Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale 5-1), 11:10 a.m. CSNBA