CINCINNATI -- Matt Cain was nearly out of the first inning. Nearly wasn't quite good enough.
One pitch after Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips tipped a 2-2 Cain delivery foul into the dirt in front of home plate, Phillips drilled a hanging changeup deep into left-center field for a two-run home run that left the Giants playing catchup all night long in an eventual 9-2 loss at Great American Ball Park on Tuesday.
The home run broke Cain's streak of 18 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings and, combined with seven shutout innings by Cincinnati right-hander Mat Latos, helped hand the Giants just their fifth loss in the last 14 games.
"It was a changeup right down the middle," said Cain, who ended up throwing 38 pitches in the first inning. The Reds fouled off 14 of those pitches.
"It was taxing on the pitch count, but physically I felt fine. It didn't bother me. Some of them were good pitches, and I probably should have been out of the inning if I had gotten Phillips out with less pitches, but there were some times where there were good pitches and they kept fouling them off. You can't do too much with it, and sometimes you just have to tip your hat to them for being able to foul pitches off and keep things going."
Catcher Buster Posey provided the Giants with their lone runs of the night when he belted a two-run home run in the ninth inning off of reliever Sam LeCure. Latos, Jose Arredondo and LeCure combined to limit San Francisco to just six hits, one of which was Pablo Sandoval's single in the ninth off LeCure that extended his hit streak to 17 games to start the season, setting a new San Francisco Giants record.
Ryan Ludwick added a solo home run in the seventh inning off of Cain to start a six-run outburst for Cincinnati. Five of those runs came off of reliever Dan Otero, who replaced Cain with one out in the inning after Cain had thrown 116 pitches.
"He's one of the best in the league," said Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker of Cain. "If you don't get to him early, you saw how he was in the middle innings. He got that curveball over and was getting all of his pitches. He found his rhythm. He had a lot of pitches. That first inning was the equivalent to Latos' sixth inning."
The Giants left five runners on base, including the bases loaded in the sixth. They entered the game hitting just .167 with runners in scoring position (13-for-78) in their last eight games and did nothing to better that against the Reds. They went 0-for-6 with RISP on Tuesday.
Cain fell to 1-1 with the loss. It was his first appearance against Cincinnati since 2010. Latos won for the first time after losing his first two decisions of the season and racking up an 8.22 ERA in three starts. He allowed the Giants just four hits in earning his first win for the Reds after coming to Cincinnati in an offseason trade with San Diego.
Latos hadn't beaten the Giants since pitching a one-hit shutout against them on May 13, 2010. The Giants didn't get into Cincinnati until after 3 a.m. ET on Tuesday following a doubleheader sweep against the Mets in New York, but there was more than just a tired team to account for the lack of offense.
"He's a good young pitcher who has good stuff, and it was just a matter of time before he got on track, and he did tonight," said San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy. "It's a long night we had last night, playing two games and getting in at the wee hours of the morning, but give the pitcher credit because he did throw well."
Latos twice left a San Francisco runner at third base in the first three innings. Angel Pagan led off the game with a single, stole second and went to third on a fly out by Sandoval, but Posey grounded out to third base to end that early threat. Shortstop Brandon Crawford remained 90 feet from scoring in the third, when Melky Cabrera flied out to left field.
After giving up five runs in a no-decision against Arizona in his first start of the season, Cain threw nine shutout innings against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He got the win against the Pirates and a no-decision against the Phillies in a game the Giants won, 1-0, in 11 innings.
After Cain's pitch-heavy first inning against the Reds, he settled down and kept the Giants within striking distance. Following a leadoff double by Cincinnati rookie shortstop Zack Cozart in the third inning, Cain retired 10 straight batters before walking Joey Votto with one out in the sixth. Jay Bruce singled one out later, but Cain got Scott Rolen to pop out to second base to end the inning.
Cain went back to the mound to start the seventh inning, even though he had already thrown 108 pitches. Ludwick sent a hanging slider into the upper-deck bleachers in left field to lead off the inning. The Reds would later load the bases against Otero, who yielded two-run doubles to both Bruce and Rolen as the Reds blew open the game.
The Giants have now lost six straight games at Great American Ball Park and 11 of their last 15.
Kevin Goheen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.