ATLANTA -- Every part of Johnny Cueto's rehab from Tommy John surgery went according to plan. The first surprise came Saturday.
Cueto walked five Braves in the Giants' 8-1 loss. For just the second time in his career, he walked at least five and failed to throw more than four innings.
"I was a little surprised, to be honest," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been so good to this point."
Cueto also used the word "surprised" in discussing the loss.
"I felt frustrated," he said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. "I felt really good and felt strong, but on occasion, I felt frustrated because every time I would throw the ball it tailed toward first base."
A little rust is not unusual after a year of rehab, but Cueto had thrown 10 shutout innings in his first two starts and had no issues with command. The Braves got him for four in the second inning, with three walks being issued. All three of those runners scored.
"Johnny -- rarely, rarely does he beat himself," Bochy said. "It's fair to say he did that tonight."
This wasn't all on Cueto's loss of command. Not even close.
The Giants were 0-for-SunTrust Park before scratching a lone run across in the seventh inning. They've looked completely overmatched in two games against the NL's second-best team, and they'll need to win out just to finish at .500. The odds are overwhelmingly strong that they end up with a third straight losing season. That can become official as soon as Sunday.
"We were hoping for a winning season," Bochy said. "We were so close there, and I know we stumbled."