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Cain wobbles, accenting search for starter

Giants could try to augment rotation before Trade Deadline

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain intends to be an asset to the Giants during the stretch drive toward the postseason. Meanwhile, Giants management will spend the next few days striving to acquire another pitcher who can accomplish this same task.

Cain fell short of his best in the Giants' 5-2 loss Tuesday night to the Milwaukee Brewers, throwing too many unchallenging strikes while yielding four runs and eight hits in six innings.

"I didn't make the adjustment to get it off the middle of the plate, and after I did, we were already three or four runs down," Cain said after San Francisco's six-game winning streak dissolved.

Having missed last year's postseason push after undergoing surgery in August to remove bone spurs and chips from his right (throwing) elbow, Cain's eager to contribute this time, contrasting with "sitting for a year and watchiing these guys like I had done."

With Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline fast approaching, expect the Giants to seek upgrades to their existing rotation. A National League source confirmed that the Giants have contacted the Philadelphia Phillies about left-hander Cole Hamels, who's still widely regarded as an elite pitcher despite his 6-7 record. However, the Phillies would be certain to ask for a package of top Giants prospects in return, including pitchers such as right-handers Keury Mella and Tyler Beede and left-handers Steven Okert and Josh Osich.

The price in players almost surely would be just as steep, if not more exorbitant, for Detroit left-hander David Price or Chicago White Sox righty Jeff Samardzija.

Conventional wisdom dictates the Giants need a complement to Madison Bumgarner and Chris Heston to have a chance at qualifying for the postseason and advancing through it. Yet before Tuesday's defeat, which prevented San Francisco from leapfrogging the Dodgers to claim first place in the NL West standings, Giants manager Bruce Bochy sounded upbeat about the pecking order of his rotation.

"I don't have numbers on our guys right now." Bochy said. "I'm just saying that's how I see Matt Cain [as a No. 2 starter]. [Heston's] certainly pitched like one. If you look at our guys, they're all guys you could put in that slot. [Jake] Peavy, with the way he has thrown the ball, he started the season as a No. 2. I don't think there's a right or wrong, or I'd put somebody over the other right now."

After the 100th game in the Giants' season, Bochy disregarded the club's missed chance to pass the Dodgers.

"It doesn't matter where you are right now," he said.

Referring to scoreboard-watching and dwelling on the standings, Bochy said, "It's a little early to be doing that. There's a lot of work to do."

Cain acknowledged he's still working on regaining his form, having made five starts since recovering from a strained flexor tendon in his right arm.

"It could have definitely been a lot worse," he said. "Sometimes you have to work through these games."

Chris Haft is a reporter for Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.
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