Cashner can't find a groove in loss to Giants

Cashner can't find a groove in loss to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- It's been nearly a month since Andrew Cashner's rough first start of the season against the Dodgers, where three Adrian Gonzalez home runs ruined the Padres pitcher's night.

Since then, Cashner has settled back into form more fitting the pitcher who has thrown some of the most dominant games for the franchise in recent memory.

On Tuesday, though, Cashner struggled with his fastball, allowing six runs (four earned) over six innings as the Giants blanked the Padres, 6-0, at AT&T Park.

"He couldn't really gain any momentum. Had a good first inning, but from there it seemed to unravel a little bit on him," said Padres manager Bud Black of Cashner, who walked three and struck out three.

After he allowed two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, Cashner had this one get away from him in the second and third innings, when the Giants combined to score five runs.

"I left a lot of balls over the middle of the plate and didn't really give our offense a chance tonight," Cashner said. "I hung a lot of sliders and my fastball was down the middle."

In the third inning, trailing 2-0, Cashner retired the first two batters of the inning, Nori Aoki and then Joe Panik, before Buster Posey singled. Brandon Belt then walked, and Brandon Crawford singled to left field to score a run. Later in the inning, two more runs would score on an error by first baseman Yangervis Solarte on Gregor Blanco's ground ball.

"A couple of fastballs just went up in the zone on me and then the hanging slider [to Posey]," Cashner said. "If you pitch ahead, you give yourself a chance to get guys off-balanced. I just didn't do that tonight."

As it stands, Cashner is 1-5 this season though he has a 3.16 ERA. The Padres' defense hasn't always been good behind him, as he's allowed a Major League-high 10 unearned runs.

But Cashner won't point to the defense or the offensive support for how this one went astray.

"Tonight was really disappointing," he said. "Every time I pitch, I expect better than that. I was able to go six innings. But we've got to go seven or eight innings. I just couldn't get my fastball and off-speed going early."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.