The Giants' lengthy shutout streak was over after one pitch Friday night. The end of their winning streak wasn't far behind.
Cincinnati Reds leadoff hitter Zack Cozart homered on the first pitch he saw from Matt Cain, who was roughed up in a 5-1 loss at AT&T Park. The leadoff home run snapped the Giants' 36-inning shutout streak, and the loss snapped a four-game winning streak that vaulted the club into first place.
"It was a good run -- I'm just sad I didn't keep it going," Cain said. "I was trying to go away (to Cozart), and it was in the middle. They're an aggressive team. I was getting them to swing but wasn't making quality pitches."
The leadoff homer sent a jolt through AT&T Park, where Cain had thrown a perfect game the last time he took his home mound.
With their ace on the mound, reaching the franchise record of 38 consecutive scoreless innings seemed a near formality for the Giants. But Cozart jumped on Cain's fastball that cut back over the plate, and the Reds scored two more in the first inning on a double from Jay Bruce.
The loss snapped Cain's eight-game winning streak.
"Matty was a little off today," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was out of sync. He battled out there, but he just had trouble getting the ball where he wanted it."
Cain missed location again in the sixth when he hung a changeup to Mike Leake, the opposing pitcher. Leake hit it out of the park to make it 4-0. Cain allowed 11
"I'm definitely not happy about that," Cain said. "He's a good hitting pitcher, but you're never happy with yourself when you give up a homer to the pitcher."
Leake was even better on the mound, holding the Giants scoreless until Pablo Sandoval's ninth-inning solo shot to right. It was Sandoval's first homer since coming off the disabled list June 9.
"I feel great in every situation," said Sandoval, who made two sparkling defensive plays in the top of the ninth. "I'm getting focused."
Sandoval's homer was the lone bright spot on a night when the Giants went 0 for 14 with runners on base and 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
"We had a couple of chances to get a timely hit," Bochy said. "We just couldn't get it done."
The night wasn't a total loss. The Los Angeles Dodgers fell 9-0 to the New York Mets, keeping the Giants (44-34) atop the National League West. But that was little consolation in a somber clubhouse that had spent the previous four games celebrating shutouts.
"The guys had done a huge job over (this week)," Cain said. "I wanted to follow that up, and I just didn't do that."
"It's nice to be back," said Penny, who had a 2.59 ERA in six starts for the Giants late in the 2009 season. "I had a lot of fun when I was here last time. (Being a reliever) is definitely going to be different and something I have to learn as I go along, but I'm looking forward to it."
Bochy said Penny would be used in long relief or middle relief for now but didn't rule out further responsibilities.
"I'll tell him to be ready at any time," Bochy said. "We'll see how comfortable he is doing this role. I'll use him anywhere, which I do with these guys a lot."
Penny, 34, has been the starting pitcher for 315 of his 319 career appearances and hasn't come out of the bullpen since 2008. He was 119-99 with a 4.23 ERA in 12 major league seasons before taking a deal in Japan, but he requested his release from the Softbank Hawks after just one start.
Penny said the language barrier was difficult, and he was upset when the Hawks asked him to throw 120 pitches per start after tendinitis limited him to just 12 spring-training innings.
"I was kind of trying to protect myself," he said. "I didn't know what to expect. I figured I could do anything for a couple of years, but that wasn't true. I wasn't having any fun playing baseball.
"If you're not having fun, you shouldn't be doing it."
Penny said he nearly signed with the Giants before spring training. When he was granted his release in Japan, he called Bochy and quickly signed a minor league deal.
"I told my agent in the spring that I'd really rather come here than anywhere," Penny said.
Loux injured his neck while working out before Thursday's game and underwent an MRI. Bochy said the training staff expects him to be fine after a few days of rest.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Giants placed left-hander Eric Surkamp (left elbow strain) on the 60-man DL.