SAN FRANCISCO - Through five innings Thursday night, the only Giant to touch first base did so by accident. Pablo Sandoval thought he had drawn a walk with two outs in the fifth, but as he stood on first, the umpires - at the urging of the Cardinals - realized that Sandoval had only just taken ball three.
The Giants eventually would get that hit, but they wouldn't accomplish much more on their first night back home. Johnny Cueto was shelled in his first start since April 28, the lineup made Luke Weaver look like Justin Verlander, and the bullpen completed the boat race. An 11-2 loss to the Cardinals was the fourth straight for a club that looked ready to get into gear while sweeping the first-place Diamondbacks over the weekend. As always with this club, it was two steps forward, two steps back.
Here's what you need to know from the start of a long homestand ...
--- Cueto had an odd first inning during which he appeared to be playing a light game of catch for his first 20 pitches or so. He can often look that way during starts, but this seemed even more casual than usual. Cueto threw just two fastballs above 90 mph in the 28-pitch frame and gave up a three-run shot Jedd Gyorko on an 89-mph sinker that cut right back over the plate.
--- Cueto hit 90 mph just five times in 76 pitches, topping out at 91.7 on one pitch late in his outing. Perhaps because the velocity was down, he didn't throw many fastballs, just 27 on the night. Cueto threw 24 sliders and 23 changeups, and in his final two innings he seemed to have a better feel for those two pitches.
--- Weaver, who entered with a 5.16 ERA, had a perfect game until a 50-50 play in the sixth. Gorkys Hernandez hit a grounder to third and Gyorko lost the ball as he tried to pop up after a diving stop. It was ruled a base hit. The shutout was lost moments later on Alen Hanson's two-run shot to the arcade.
--- It wasn't a great night for two lefty starters who have shifted to the bullpen. Ty Blach gave up four runs in the sixth while recording just two outs. Derek Holland struck out seven in 3 1/3, but also gave up a two-run homer.
--- The Giants got out-hit 18-2. Yikes.