SAN FRANCISCO -- Trevor Cahill flirted with a no-hitter Wednesday night at AT&T Park, but for the Giants, the biggest concerns weren't at the plate.
The Giants' own young starter, Madison Bumgarner, struggled for the third consecutive start as they fell to the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-2. Xavier Nady, thought to be the short-term fix in left field, exited with a strained left hamstring and will have an MRI exam Thursday.
It made for a stressful night for a club that will take a 41/2-game lead into this weekend's showdown with the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers.
"This game wasn't very pretty," manager Bruce Bochy said. "This day off (Thursday) couldn't come at a better time."
The Giants dropped two of three to the Diamondbacks and never seriously threatened in the series finale. Cahill had a perfect game through five innings, a no-hitter through six.
Bumgarner couldn't keep pace on a night when he knew he didn't have his best stuff. He gave up seven hits in 61/3 innings and was charged with four earned runs for the third straight start. Over that span, the worst of his season, Bumgarner has allowed 20 hits and walked eight in 162/3 innings. He has lost all three games.
"It was just a battle," he said. "I didn't feel that good tonight, and I tried to pitch with what I had and get through some innings. You have games like this throughout the year where you don't feel like you have life on the
"It definitely could have been a lot worse."
Bumgarner gave up a run in the first and another in the fourth. Aaron Hill's run-scoring double ended Bumgarner's night, and the Diamondbacks would break the game wide open with three straight two-out hits against Jean Machi.
"The two-out hits killed us," Bochy said. "As a group, we're not quite throwing as well."
In a change of course from years of Giants baseball, it has been the lineup that has bailed out the starting pitching in recent weeks. Nady has been a part of that since being called up from Triple-A Fresno and was being counted on to fill the hole in left field left by Melky Cabrera's suspension.
But Nady felt his left hamstring "grab" while chasing a ball in the gap in the seventh inning.
"Obviously, it's frustrating," he said. "I feel like I let a lot of people down. Hopefully, it's just a couple of days. I didn't anticipate something like this happening."
Nady had a similar issue in 2007 when he partially tore his left hamstring. But he said this injury doesn't feel nearly as serious.
"He feels like it's minor, but that's the player talking," Bochy said. "This is a blow for us, because he was swinging the bat well, and he was going to get a lot of playing time.
"We'll see how bad this is."
Bochy said he would "have to get creative" in left field and mentioned first baseman Brandon Belt and infielder Ryan Theriot as options to fill the void. Belt played the outfield often as a rookie and worked there during spring training but has not taken fly balls in months. Theriot has been working in left field during batting practice and played there for the final two innings Wednesday after pinch-hitting.
The pinch-hit appearance resulted in a double play that ended a seventh inning that began with Marco Scutaro's single. The hit broke up Cahill's no-hit bid an inning after Brandon Crawford's walk in the sixth had scuttled the perfect game.
"He's got great stuff," third baseman Pablo Sandoval said of Cahill. "The ball was moving a lot. When you've got that kind of stuff and you hit your spots, you're going to have success."
"I was calm, I don't like fights," Sandoval said, smiling. "It's part of the game."
Sandoval said he thought McDonald was caught off guard when first baseman Belt elected to throw to third on the grounder to the right side.