SAN FRANCISCO -- Following their latest loss Sunday, the Giants packed their bags and embarked on a three-city trip. Tyler Walker, a San Francisco native, might have been happiest of all to see his hometown disappear in the rearview mirror.
Walker used the word "atrocious" after giving up three runs in the eighth inning and taking the loss in a 13-8 defeat to the Chicago White Sox at AT&T Park. The reliever is in a slump that typifies the Giants' slide from respectable to despair.
His ERA was 1.93 on May 3, when the Giants were 14-17.
His ERA hit 7.00 on Sunday, when they fell to 17-28.
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"I'm at a loss for words," Walker said.
Manager Bruce Bochy was willing to say what Walker wasn't, pointing out that the three runs Walker allowed Sunday were the result of "horrible luck."
The White Sox touched him for four hits, none of which was struck hard. The decisive runs came home on a bases-loaded double by Nick Swisher that was nothing more than a cotton-soft popup down the left-field line. It drove home three runs and broke a 6-6 tie.
"He couldn't have thrown it out there any better," Walker acknowledged.
Compounding the problem is that left fielder Daniel Ortmeier stumbled in pursuit of the ball and ended up flopping face first near the foul line.
So it goes for a team that is getting decent pitching and hitting, but never on the same day. The Giants lost for the fifth consecutive time and 12th time in 16 games.
Things reached the point where Bochy said he planned to address the club during the flight to Colorado.
"The buck stops here. It stops with the players and the staff," he said. "We're the ones that can change this and turn things around. The only thing we can do right now is keep our heads up and keep pushing forward."
Matt Cain went from untouchable to inexplicable in a matter of innings. He carried a no-hitter into the fifth, then gave up four home runs to the next 15 batters.
Joe Crede got him in the fifth. Orlando Cabrera hit one in the sixth and another in the seventh. Carlos Quentin also homered in the sixth.
"He had great stuff. (But) he started to get the balls over the heart of the plate, and they weren't missing them," Bochy said.
Though Cain's struggles aren't quite as dramatic as those of teammate Barry Zito, the right-hander is hardly off to the start the Giants envisioned. His six runs and season-worst four homers allowed pushed his ERA to 4.57.
Only four of Cain's 10 outings have met the definition of a quality start: at least six innings with three runs or fewer allowed.
His bugaboo a year ago was poor run support, but the Giants scored eight times Sunday, including a home run by Rich Aurilia that gave Cain a 1-0 lead in the second and Bengie Molina's two-run double in the seventh that tied the score at 6.
"That's bad," Cain said. "There's nothing worse than seeing our guys score runs and not getting the shutdown inning. I did a bad job of that."
Walker felt lousy, too, having inherited a tie game in the eighth. Paul Konerko, Crede and Alexei Ramirez hit consecutive one-out singles with each ball being hit more softly than the one before.
Ramirez's hit was a broken-bat popup.
Swisher, pinch hitting with two out, hit a double to make it 9-6. That gave Walker 11 earned runs over his past five outings (four innings).
"You have to tip your cap to the White Sox -- they hit the ball just softly enough to fall in," he said. "I have no answers for what's happening right now."