The non-waiver trade deadline came and went as the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants - clubs that expected to contend yet are toiling below .500 - surprisingly stood pat.
Each team sends disappointing starters to the mound Thursday night, as Cole Hamels looks to help Philadelphia avoid a 10th loss in 11 games while facing Matt Cain and visiting San Francisco.
The Phillies (50-57) haven't finished under .500 since going 80-81 in 2002, but they may be headed there again. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. decided not to make any changes, though, as Wednesday's trade deadline passed.
Despite rumors regarding multiple players, Amaro is prepared to move forward with the current club.
``We talked about a couple things, but the bottom line was we didn't find anything satisfactory that we thought was going to improve us,' Amaro said.
Manager Charlie Manuel seemed relieved that he doesn't have to discuss those rumors any longer.
"If you play the game the right way, you never know how good you can do," Manuel said before Wednesday's contest. "Every team somewhere along the line has had a (winning) streak. We haven't. Maybe we got one coming to us.'
Not long after Manuel's statement, though, Philadelphia was routed by the Giants 9-2, one day after ending its eight-game losing streak with a 7-3 victory in Tuesday's series opener.
Chase Utley, one subject of trade talk, homered and drove in both runs.
The defending World Series champion Giants (47-59) also declined to make a move despite sitting in last place in the NL West. They had lost five straight and eight of nine before Wednesday's victory.
Brett Pill went 3 for 5 with a homer and four RBIs, and Brandon Crawford added a solo shot.
``I think it may have relaxed the guys,' manager Bruce Bochy said of the deadline passing. ``We got a couple hits early and the confidence came back.'
Hamels (4-13, 4.09 ERA) and Cain (6-6, 4.79) have both fallen well short of expectations this season, though each has pitched better lately.
Hamels has lowed his ERA nearly one-half run over his last five starts by going 2-2 with a 2.57 mark in that stretch. He allowed two runs and struck out six in seven innings Friday but fell 2-1 at Detroit.
The left-hander is tied with former Phillie Joe Blanton for the majors' most defeats, and wins have been difficult to come by against San Francisco recently as well. Hamels is 1-3 with a 4.14 ERA in his last six starts against the Giants, including a loss opposite Cain in Game 3 of the 2010 NLCS.
He gave up five runs in 7 2-3 innings while Cain allowed five in eight frames of San Francisco's 6-5, 10-inning win July 21, 2012, the last time either hurler faced these teams.
Cain had a 5.45 ERA through his first 12 starts, but he's posted a 3.81 mark in his last nine outings. He allowed one run and struck out seven in seven innings Friday before the Chicago Cubs rallied in the ninth to defeat the Giants 3-2.
"I felt good," Cain said. "I just had a good feeling out of the (pregame tosses in the bullpen) early."
The right-hander is 2-4 with a 3.32 ERA in 10 career starts versus the Phillies, including the NLCS win over Hamels.
Buster Posey is 5 for 7 with a homer and three doubles off Hamels in the regular season.
The Associated Press News Service
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