Matt Cain struck out seven in five perfect innings for the San Francisco Giants on Monday, but the bullpen faltered a bit in a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Scottsdale Stadium.
Cain has now thrown eight innings this spring and has allowed just one hit and struck out nine as he appears ready to bounce back from a disappointing 2013.
The 29-year-old right-hander went 16-5 for the Giants in 2012 with a 2.79 ERA and 1.040 WHIP in 219.1 innings, but those numbers went up to 4.00 and 1.156 in 184.1 innings last year, his lowest innings total in a full season in his career.
The Giants (6-6) got both of their runs off Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija in the fourth inning.
Michael Morse led off the frame with a single and one out later, Hunter Pence doubled to left field to put runners at second and third. Pablo Sandoval grounded a single through left side to score both runners.
The Cubs (6-6) came back, scoring a run in the sixth off David Huff on an RBI single by Emilio Bonifacio, and took the lead in the seventh against Jeremy Affeldt (0-1) on an RBI single by Chris Coghlan and an ugly play that featured throwing errors by both Giants middle infielders, shortstop Brandon Crawford and second baseman Tony Abreu.
San Francisco never mounted a threat afterward, with their last nine batters going down in order. Former Giant Jonathan Sanchez picked up his second save of the spring for the Cubs, working a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Giants mustered only six hits on the day, two by Sandoval, who is hitting .381 this spring. Pence’s double was San Francisco’s lone extra base hit.
The Giants visit the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Ballpark on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m. Pacific.