LOS ANGELES -- Matt Cain knew the question was coming.
The Giants right-hander gave up three homers in a 6-2 loss Sunday to the Los Angeles Dodgers, bringing back memories of last season's rough first half, when he allowed three bombs in three of his first nine starts. The connection was an easy one.
"Who cares?" Cain said quickly, when asked about it. "I don't care."
Manager Bruce Bochy didn't either, saying Cain had good stuff on a night when the Dodgers seemed to feel otherwise. Matt Kemp twice homered off Cain, and Hanley Ramirez added a solo shot as the Dodgers handed a comfortable lead to their flame-throwing bullpen, but Bochy doesn't want Cain even wondering if he's back to the homer-happy ways that derailed him before last season's All-Star break.
"I like the way he attacked the zone tonight," Bochy said. "He had good stuff. If he goes up there with that stuff, he'll be just fine. I thought he was throwing the ball well. You ask if this is going to be a pattern -- I know it's not, and I don't want him thinking about it."
Bochy wouldn't let any lingering thoughts rain on what was an otherwise successful road trip. The Dodgers were happy to do that themselves. Kemp, in his third day off the disabled list, jumped on a second-inning fastball from Cain that tailed back over the plate and hit it deep to left-center field. For the first time in seven games, the Giants didn't score the game's first run.
Ramirez crushed a changeup over the home bullpen in the fourth inning to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead. Three batters later, and with a runner on, Cain again tried to get Kemp with a fastball. Again the former MVP candidate deposited it over the light blue wall ringing the Dodger Stadium outfield.
"That was kind of the game," Cain said. "I made three really bad mistakes to guys that drive the ball really well. That's what ended up changing the game, and it cost us."
All six of the hits against Cain went for extra bases, but that didn't shake the right-hander, who said he would stick with the aggressive style that allowed him to flourish for so many years and to shake off last season's early struggles to post a 2.36 ERA after the break.
"I don't want to nibble, and I don't want to go away from the strike zone," Cain said. "I've always been a guy who can elevate the ball sometimes. When it is to certain guys, it can go out. They're good. You know it's going to be (a good game here), and you know it's going to be tough every time you face them."
The going was especially tough against the Dodgers bullpen. Starter Zack Greinke was sharp and allowed just two runs in six innings, but the Giants at least had a sliver of a chance against the right-hander who spent most of the spring battling a calf injury. Against four relievers, the Giants struck out eight times in three innings, giving them 16 for the game. In 142/3 innings this series, the revamped Dodgers bullpen allowed just six hits and struck out 22.
It was an early lesson for the Giants: Strike early against the division favorite, or you might be left with nothing but strikeouts. On Sunday, Bochy was fine with filing that worry away for another time. As the Giants prepared to fly to San Francisco for Tuesday's home opener, the manager was intent on enjoying the opening salvo his club fired by taking two of three in Los Angeles.
"You hate losing the last one as you head home, but it was a great trip," Bochy said. "We'll take it."
"The bell rang and they answered it," Bochy said. "That's what you hope for."
Arizona (Trevor Cahill 0-2) at Giants (Tim Hudson 1-0), 1:35 p.m. CSNBA