SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An uncharacteristic start from ace Matt Cain has left the San Francisco Giants in unfamiliar territory to start this postseason run.
Cain gave up home runs to Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce for the first earned runs he has ever allowed in the postseason, and the Giants find themselves trailing a playoff series for a change following a 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the NL division series on Saturday night.
"He wasn't as sharp as he normally is," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He left up a couple of pitches up that they took advantage of and the ball left the park. ... He was missing spots a little bit. I think that's fair to say tonight."
Cain was a reliable workhorse during the Giants' run to the World Series title two years ago, allowing no earned runs in 21 1-3 innings. That was a big reason why San Francisco never trailed in a series on the way to beating Atlanta, Philadelphia and Texas for the franchise's first championship since moving West in 1958.
But Cain was unable to outduel Cincinnati's patchwork pitching staff after starter Johnny Cueto left with back spasms just eight pitches in. Sam LeCure pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings for the win, scheduled Game 3 starter Mat Latos allowed only a solo homer by Buster Posey in four innings and the Reds stellar bullpen did the rest to take a 1-0 series lead.
"I made some bad pitches to put these guys in a hole," Cain said. "That's my fault."
The loss by the Giants capped a down day in the Bay Area. The Oakland Athletics lost the opener of their AL division series 3-1 in Detroit.
Cincinnati came up with the kind of pitching Cain delivered throughout the 2010 postseason, when he allowed just one unearned run in three starts. He picked up where he left off to start, retiring the first four batters with two strikeouts.
But he ran into trouble in the third when No. 8 hitter Drew Stubbs led off with a single and scored on Phillips' one-out homer to left-center. It was the third homer Cain has allowed to Phillips and ended his postseason stretch without an earned run at 23 1-3 innings — fifth longest ever.