SAN FRANCISCO — Giants manager Bruce Bochy described his team’s offense as being “cold right now.”
He might have been talking about the entire season for the defending World Series champs.
San Francisco struggled at the plate for the fifth straight game Tuesday night, a problem that has plagued Bochy’s ballclub all year.
“We couldn’t get guys on base,” Bochy said after the Giants were held to five hits in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. “We didn’t hit too many balls hard tonight.”
The Giants managed just four singles — two by leadoff hitter Angel Pagan — and a home run by light-hitting Tony Abreu. Beyond that, it was another frustrating night for a club that has scored only six runs over the last 49 innings.
The latest flop spoiled another solid start by Matt Cain.
Cain (8-10) pitched seven strong innings but took the loss after giving up home runs to Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig. Cain, who will make one more start this season, struck out four and walked three.
“I made two big mistakes and that cost us,” Cain said. “It’s not easy to score runs against those guys. I just wish I didn’t make two bad pitches.”
Hyun-Jin Ryu and two relievers combined on the five-hitter. Carl Crawford added three hits for the NL West champions, who have won three straight.
The Giants pushed only one runner past first base and were held to no more than one run for the third time in four games.
Ryu (14-7) struck out six and walked one to tie Shelby Miller of St. Louis for most wins by a rookie in the National League. The left-hander retired 13 of his first 15 batters until Abreu’s home run, then set down eight of the next 10 before giving way to Brian Wilson.
Facing his former club for the third time this season, Wilson retired all three batters he faced, striking out pinch hitter Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez looking.
“I had faced them before, so I got (nerves) out of the way then,” Wilson said.
Pagan singled twice for the Giants, whose only other hits came on an infield single by Cain in the fifth and a single by Buster Posey in the ninth.
Angels 3, A’s 0: At Anaheim, A.J. Griffin gave the Oakland Athletics a taste of what he could do last year as a rookie when he won seven of eight decisions, including a victory over the Los Angeles Angels in which he pitched eight scoreless innings.
Now that he’s gotten his first full season in the big leagues under his belt, the repeat AL West champions expect the 25-year-old right-hander to make even more strides toward being a vital piece of manager Bob Melvin’s rotation.
Griffin gave up three runs and five hits over five innings and struck out seven Tuesday night in a loss to the Angels. He was 4-0 in his previous five outings, including a no-decision last Wednesday against the Halos when he retired 17 of his final 18 batters and allowed one hit over six innings — a two-run homer by Mike Trout.
“A.J.’s been consistent all year,” Melvin said. “Like anybody, he’s had a rough stretch or two. But if you look at the overall body of work, it’s been a pretty consistent year for him and something to be proud of. Based on the way he pitched last year, this is about what we expected — to be consistent and keep his team in games and win his share of them. And he’s done all that.”
Griffin (14-10) has a 3.83 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 200 innings — along with a major league-worst 36 home runs allowed. The Oakland single-season record in that department is held by Catfish Hunter, who gave up 39 in 1973 and still won 21 games.
“I feel pretty good about the season I’ve had,” Griffin said. “It’s just about being competitive, pounding the strike zone and getting ahead of guys. Home runs happen, but it’s just part of baseball. I’m just trying to contribute here. We’ve got a great thing going on with this club and I look forward to being a part of it and doing great things here.”
The A’s, who clinched their second straight division title Sunday, remain a game behind the Red Sox for the best record in the majors following Boston’s 8-3 loss at Colorado.
Angels left-hander Jason Vargas (9-7) earned his second shutout of the season with a four-hitter. He threw 110 pitches, retiring 15 consecutive batters at one point and striking out five en route to his fifth shutout and 10th complete game in 153 career starts.
“He hit his spots well, mixed up his pitches and kept painting the corners. And when he does that, it makes him tough to hit,” said A’s first baseman Daric Barton, who struck out twice and is 4-for-16 lifetime against Vargas. “He was throwing all three pitches for strikes, so it was tough to get his pitch count up.”
For the second straight night, Howie Kendrick homered his first time up after not hitting one in his previous 30 games. The Angels increased the margin to 3-0 in the third on Josh Hamilton’s two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded.