San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain throws to the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 21, 2016, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)
George Nikitin
May 22, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) More often than not, when Jon Lester has challenged a hitter this season, he's come out on top.

So the big blow in the Chicago Cubs' 5-3 loss Saturday to the San Francisco Giants was all the more improbable.

Lester (4-3) got beat by the pitcher, and not just any pitcher.

Matt Cain was hitless in his previous 46 at-bats, with his last hit coming off Zack Greinke on May 10, 2014. On Saturday, he ended that streak when he doubled in two runs in the bottom of the second inning off Lester, setting the tone for the Giants' ninth win in 10 games.

The Cubs fell to 2-3 on their nine-game road trip.

Lester allowed five runs on six hits and three walks in his worst outing of the year.

''Hard hit balls, bad locations, couldn't put guys away,'' Lester said.

''It's unusual,'' Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ''Jonny had a tough day. It just didn't go his way. The bullpen was fantastic and gave us a chance to win. We had a couple of opportunities to score.''

The Cubs best chance came in the eighth, when reliever Javier Lopez struck out pinch-hitter Tim Federowicz with runners at first and second and two outs in a 5-2 game.

Cain entered with the worst run support in the majors (1.96 runs per game) and took matters into his own hands, crushing Lester's 3-2 fastball over center fielder Dexter Fowler's head for a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the second.

''I'm more frustrated about not getting the ball where I wanted,'' Lester said.

''I can't walk the pitcher. I'll take my chances with the heater. I can live with the Posey's of the world but I can't put myself into a 3-2 pitch and allow the pitcher to do some damage. That's obviously not good.''

Cain (1-5) got his first victory since July 22, 2015, snapping a streak of 15 consecutive winless starts. The Giants were 3-12 over that stretch.

Cain had surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow in 2014, and then did stints on the disabled list in 2015 for a flexor tendon strain and elbow nerve irritation.

Posey hit a two-run homer to left - his fifth - during a three-run third in which the Giants chased Lester.

Cain's only mistake came in the third, when he hung a 3-2 slider to Kris Bryant. Bryant pounced, clearing the 399-foot sign in straightaway center with his ninth homer.

Dexter Fowler was 3 for 5 and homered leading off the ninth against closer Santiago Casilla, who got the next three outs for his 11th save.

BIG BEN

Cubs utilityman Ben Zobrist was 2 for 5, extending his hitting streak to eight games and his on-base streak in games he's started to 27 since April 18.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Cubs: OF Jason Heyward suffered a contusion on his right side after making a diving catch in Friday's game and will be out three to five days. ... The Cubs activated OF Matt Szczur from the 15-day disabled list and designated RHP Neil Ramirez for assignment.

Giants: OFs Hunter Pence and Angel Pagan were out of Saturday's starting lineup with nagging hamstring soreness. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he noticed Pence hobbling after hustling down the line earlier this week in San Diego and that Pence confirmed that he's experiencing soreness on his lower right hamstring. Pagan missed 11 games with a left hamstring injury earlier this month and is experiencing lingering soreness.

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks (2-3, 2.45 ERA) is 1-1 with a 5.56 ERA against the Giants in two career starts. He allowed four earned runs in six innings in his only start in San Francisco on Aug. 26, 2015.

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-2) is coming off a complete-game performance in which he struck out a season-high 11 batters and allowed no walks during a 5-1 victory at San Diego. The three-time All-Star is 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA in his last four starts against Chicago.

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