The workhorse gets the Giants a much needed quality start.
Matt Cain pitched almost seven innings of shutout ball as the San Francisco Giants (34-31) get a huge 10-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates (39-27). The Giants bats provided Cain with plenty of support getting a total of 17 hits on the night with 3-5 games for lead off hitter Gregor Blanco, Buster Posey, and Joaquin Arias. Both Posey and Blanco had a pair of RBI’s each.
Cain (W, 5-3), would allow just two hits and two walks while getting three strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. It wasn’t like the perfect game he threw a year ago from yesterday but it was one of his best starts of his sub par season.
“I am throwing the ball a whole lot better,” Cain said. “I’m trying to eliminate that big inning. I had done a good job of that for some years now but I’ve kind of had trouble with it this year. It’s a matter of putting it in the past and getting guys out.”
It was already a sizable lead in the 6th inning with San Francisco already up 6-0 when Hunter Pence came up to plate with two on and one out. Pence would hit a three-run homer to center off of reliever Mike Zagurski to put the game further out of reach. It was Pence’s 11th home run of 2013.
Before that, Pirates starter Charlie Morton (L, 0-1) had allowed four runs in five innings, two of them earned runs, as part of his first start coming off of Tommy John Surgery about a year ago.
The first two runs were pretty standard for Morton to allow. Posey had an RBI single in the 1st inning followed by an RBI single by Gregor Blanco in the 2nd.
The 5th inning is where things got tricky. With runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out, Hunter Pence grounded into a fielder’s choice to short where Jordy Mercer would throw home to prevent Brandon Crawford scoring from 3rd. Its turns into a pickle with Crawford trying to avoid the tag and he would score on an error by Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez who had run into Brandon while not having possession of the ball. The umpires called Alvarez for obstruction as Crawford’s progress as a runner was impeded and was therefore given home and the run.
Later in the inning after Andres Torres hit a sac fly to left to get Posey in from third to make it 4-0, Joaquin Arias would hit a ball to short where it would hit Hunter Pence in the back who had a lead off of 2nd base. By rule, they gave Arias a hit but called Pence out for a batted ball therefore ending the top of the 5th.
In the 6th, Gregor Blanco had his second RBI single of the day as he got in Nick Noonan from 2nd. A couple batters later, Buster Posey had an infield single to the shortstop which scored in Blanco from 3rd. Then the next batter was Pence who hit his three-run home run.
The Giants bullpen worked less last night but still had to relieve Matt Cain after he allowed two men on with two outs. Cain’s last batter faced, Neil Walker, would actually get hit in the leg by a pitch which granted him 1st base.
Javier Lopez came in for Cain and faced only Pedro Alvarez but ended up walking him to load the bases. Jean Machi then came in to get catcher Mike McKenry to strike out swinging to end the inning.
Machi would stay out there for the 8th and get two more strikeouts and a ground out.
Then in the 9th, Jeremy Affeldt finished off the Pirates allowing only one hit to Travis Snider. He would get Garrett Jones to ground into a double play to end the ballgame.
The top of the 9th had the Giants adding on their tenth run of the game with a sacrifice fly to center by Brandon Crawford to get Nick Noonan to score from 3rd. Nick Noonan had a double to deep center earlier in the side that was initially ruled a home run. But upon further review, the umpires determined the ball hit off the top of the yellow padding in center and then cmae back in play. Noonan is still without a home run in his career.
The first couple of games for the Giants were disappointments to say the least. The Pirates took game one of the series 8-2 on Tuesday night with the highlight being Gerrit Cole (W, 1-0) getting a win in his Major League debut. Cole went 6 1/3 innings allowing 7 hits, 2 earned runs, and struck out two.
Tim Lincecum (L, 4-6), meanwhile, only lasted 4 2/3 innings allowing four runs, two earned, seven hits, and two walks.
To make the loss worse was the fact that Marco Scutaro left the game after getting hit by a pitch in the 7th. He was hit in the left hand which injured one of his fingers. Scutaro didn’t play in the remainder of the series and is listed as Day-to-Day.
Giants reliever George Kontos would plunk Andrew McCutchen with a pitch in the 8th and was thrown out of the game along with Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Kontos was suspended three games for the HBP but was optioned back to the Triple-A affiliate of the Giants the next day. Kontos will serve his suspension when he is called back to the majors provided he does not appeal. Bruce Bochy, meanwhile, was suspended for one game.
That one game was the 2nd game of this series which turned out to be a hitting display for both teams with the Pirates getting the better of it with a 12-8 win Wednesday night. Barry Zito (L, 4-5) has the more disastrous start between he and Francisco Liriano (W, 5-2). Zito allowed 8 runs in his 4 2/3 innings on the mound for San Francisco.
The Giants leave Pittsburgh and head to Atlanta to take on the Braves (39-27) in a three game series. San Francisco’s probables are Madison Bumgarner (5-4), Chad Gaudin (2-1), and Tim Lincecum (4-6). Atlanta’s probables are Kris Medlen (3-6), Mike Minor (8-2), and Julio Teheran (4-3).
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Written by Daniel Trucios