SAN FRANCISCO -- In their continuing search for rock bottom, the Giants landed with another thud Saturday night. Nate Schierholtz homered against his old team with one out in the ninth inning, propelling the Chicago Cubs to a 1-0 victory at AT&T Park.

The Giants' heartbreak was complete only after they squandered bases-loaded chances in the eighth and ninth innings. Tony Abreu grounded into a double play to finish it, a fittingly frustrating ending for a team that fell a season-worst nine games out of first place.

"Right now, we're in a tough rut and we know it," manager Bruce Bochy said.

The reeling Giants have lost six of their past seven games and 21 of their past 28.

Since May 14 -- when they were still in first place -- the Giants are 23-42, the worst mark in the majors during that span. The defending World Series champions now sit in a virtual last-place tie with the San Diego Padres.

"I think everybody in here believes in the guys that we have," said starter Madison Bumgarner, who got a no-decision despite eight shutout innings. "We just have to go come together."

Schierholtz hit the game-winner nearly a year to the day after the Giants traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies (on July 31) in the Hunter Pence deal. The left-handed hitting outfielder signed with the Cubs as an offseason free agent.


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Schierholtz hit a fastball off Sergio Romo (3-6), who suffered losses on back-to-back nights for the first time in his career. Romo said the fateful pitch was: "Right down the middle. That's what happens. This is the big leagues. I tried to go inside, and it just tailed back over the plate."

The blow came minutes after the Giants wasted a prime scoring opportunity in the bottom of the eighth. They loaded the bases with nobody out and the heart of the order -- Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Pence -- coming to the plate.

But Posey and Sandoval hit harmless ground balls that resulted in force-outs at home plate, and Pence struck out swinging at a pitch out of the strike zone from right-handed reliever Pedro Strop.

"We couldn't get a fly ball or a cheap hit or anything," Bochy said.

The manager said the Giants are pressing, and the numbers back him up. Posey went 0 for 3 and is 1 for his past 19 over his past seven games. And nobody is jumping in to carry the load: The Giants have only three home runs over their past 23 home games.

Of the Giants past 76 hits, 63 are singles.

More than the bats, though, Bochy is concerned about the faltering defense. With two more errors Saturday, the Giants now have 76 miscues, one more than Houston Astros for the worst mark in the majors.

It's such an epidemic that Bochy will consider skipping batting practice in favor of more defensive drills.

"There could be days when we might not hit (before games)," Bochy said before the game. "We might just take ground balls or take infield. We need to get our focus back on catching the ball."

  • Tim Lincecum will try to bounce back Sunday from a poor follow-up to his no-hitter. In his only start since the July 13 no-no, Lincecum allowed eight runs on nine hits in 32/3 innings to the Cincinnati Reds.

    In doing so, Lincecum became just the sixth pitcher since 1900 to allow eight or more runs in his first start after a no-hitter, according to Elias. The others are Chick Fraser (10 earned runs in 1903), Phillip Humber (nine in 2012), Dazzy Vance (nine in 1925), Catfish Hunter (eight in 1968) and Carlos Zambrano (eight in 2008).

  • Bochy said Ryan Vogelsong (fractured right hand) was encouraged after throwing 22/3 innings for Class A San Jose on Friday night. The manager said Vogelsong reported "feeling great" after a 45-pitch outing in which he allowed two runs and struck out three. Vogelsong will join the team for a visit to the White House on Monday before continuing his rehab with Double-A Richmond.

  • Joaquin Arias started at shortstop instead of Brandon Crawford against Cubs left-hander Chris Rusin. Crawford entered the night hitless in his past 21 at-bats against left-handed pitchers and 2 for his past 30 against them.

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    Sunday's game
    Chicago Cubs (Travis Wood 6-7) at Giants (Tim Lincecum 5-10), 1:05 p.m. CSNBA