D-backs can't get a whiff of Giants pitching

D-backs can't get a whiff of Giants pitching

D-backs can't get a whiff of Giants pitching
PHOENIX -- These swings and misses will be hard to forget.

Saturday's 5-2 D-backs loss to the Giants is the kind of defeat that can make a manager shake his head and players look at themselves in the mirror.

The D-backs struck out 11 times, including five looking. They lead the Major Leagues with 278 strikeouts this season and it could be time to change the approach at the plate.

"Our lineup is not hitting real well," said D-backs right fielder Justin Upton, who went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts. "We still have flashes, but we are not seeing the ball well as a team. Maybe we have to change up our game plan a little, shortened-up [swing] or whatever. We have to put the bat on the ball and make them make plays. We have not done that lately."

The D-backs have not won much lately, either. Saturday's loss was the eighth defeat in the last 11 games. The loss also snapped a streak of nine consecutive victories against the Giants and marked the first defeat for starter Trevor Cahill in five starts against San Francisco.

As a team, the D-backs are hitting .248.

"We have to look at ourselves and figure out a way to put together better at-bats," D-backs shortstop Willie Bloomquist said. "Two runs a game is not going to cut it. You are not going to win a lot of games doing that. We will stay positive and it will break for us."

The D-backs are seeking a solution for Sunday's finale. Cahill and his teammates had no answer for Giants starter Matt Cain on Saturday.

The Giants starter threw six strong innings and picked up a pair of hits, including a crucial two-run double in the sixth. The Giants led 2-1 after five innings but Cain's double down the right-field line with two outs in the sixth extended the lead to 4-1 and ended Cahill's night.

In the end, Cahill was charged with four runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings before passing the ball to Craig Breslow. As for Cain, he allowed one run on three hits for the victory, his second of the season. He also lowered his ERA to 2.28.

"We didn't play well. We didn't swing the bats well," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We struck out 11 times and we took five of them. They did a good job of pitching us. We really didn't have that many scoring opportunities."

There were a few early clues that it was not going to be Cahill's night. He walked Gregor Blanco on four pitches to lead off the game and then made an errant pickoff throw that allowed Blanco to advance to third. Blanco scored a ground ball by Brandon Belt and just like that, the Giants were ahead 1-0 six pitches into the game.

Cahill eventually settled down and pitched three scoreless innings until Blanco scored again, this time on a ground-rule double by Melky Cabrera to give the Giants a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning.

Angel Pagan led off the eventful sixth inning with a single, but Cahill appeared on his way to pitching his way out of it when the next batter, Joaquin Arias, hit into a double play.

He wasn't.

Cahill hit the next two batters, Emmanuel Burriss and Brandon Crawford, with pitches. Cain stepped into the box and eventually hit a 2-1 sinker to right field to knock Cahill out of the game. The Giants starter also hit a single in the fifth.

"It's frustrating and I'm trying to forget about it," Cahill said. "You can't take anything for granted. I had two strikes on the guy and I end up hitting him. I'm thinking 'The pitcher is coming up,' and he ends up getting a hit."

Cain shut out the D-backs in the bottom of sixth and was replaced by Javier Lopez to start the seventh.

"That's the nice part about being the National League, you feel like you can benefit the team in different ways," Cain said. "You always can contribute when you have a chance."

The D-backs scored in the third on Aaron Hill's leadoff triple and Bloomquist's sacrifice fly. In the seventh, Jason Kubel doubled with one out and continued to third on left fielder Cabrera's throwing error. He then scored with two out on shortstop Brandon Crawford's throwing error on what would've been an inning-ending grounder.

Cabrera added a second RBI double in the ninth to finish the scoring. "I don't like losing," Gibson said. "We had a good win last night and we didn't follow the effort up tonight. All around, it was not a good game for us tonight."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.