Giants 3, Diamondbacks 2
The Giants won for the seventh time in eight games to move within 5 1/2 games of San Diego in the NL West.
“It feels really good to be able to get that first one under the belt,” said Cain, a 20-year-old right-hander who on Aug. 30 became the youngest player to make his major league debut for the Giants since Mark Grant in 1984. “I just was fired up too much for my first start. It wasn’t my normal velocity.”
Cain’s velocity remained high enough—his fastball was clocked as high as 95 mph—to keep the Diamondbacks’ hitters off balance for most of the game.
“He was the king of the mound today,” San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said. “He was a very calm kid out there. Right now he’s overpowering people with his fastball. There’s going to be a time when he’s going to have to go to the other pitches. And he will.”
Cain (1-1) gave up only a pair of singles in his second career start—Royce Clayton’s two-out hit in the second and a one-out single by Craig Counsell in the third—before Tony Clark led off the seventh with a triple into the right-field corner.
Clark scored one batter later on Shawn Green’s grounder to third, the first groundout recorded by Cain, to pull the Diamondbacks within 3-1.
Cain walked one, struck out three and only allowed one runner to reach second until Clark’s triple. He faced four batters over the minimum, at one point retired 11 straight hitters, and recorded only two groundball outs.
“We popped a lot of balls up,” Clark said. “He kept us from squaring a lot of balls up early on. Unfortunately, it was a situation where (Arizona starter) Russ (Ortiz) was throwing the ball extremely well, too, but we weren’t able to push any runs across.”
Winn, who homered twice in the Giants’ 9-4 victory on Saturday, finished 3-for-4 with a triple and a double.
“They were just falling in,” Winn said.
Armando Benitez allowed Clark’s 23rd homer leading off the ninth—a towering 440-foot shot that nearly cleared the seats in the right-field lower level—then got three straight outs for his 11th save.
The Diamondbacks, who were in second place as recently as Aug. 31, lost their fifth straight to fall nine games off the pace. Arizona has lost 11 of 14 and is 9-22 since moving into a first-place tie with the Padres on July 31.
Ortiz (5-9) scattered six hits over 6 2-3 innings with four strikeouts and a walk.
“Russ threw the ball as well as he has all year today,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “We just didn’t help him out a whole lot. Command-wise, confidence-wise, movement, strikes, all of the above—that’s the best he’s pitched.”
Ortiz, who missed nearly two months with a stress fracture in his right ribcage, said he finally is feeling 100 percent when he’s on the mound.
“I felt great last time also and it brought a lot of confidence coming into this game knowing I feel normal,” Ortiz said. “I feel like myself. I’m not trying to find timing, mechanics and stuff like that. I’m just able to go out there and try to compete and be aggressive and make my pitches.”
Winn gave Cain a quick lead in the first, leading off with a triple to the warning track in straightaway center and scoring one out later on J.T. Snow’s looping single to right.
The Giants made it 2-0 when Winn led off with a double and scored on Omar Vizquel’s single to center. Winn added an RBI single in the seventh to extend San Francisco’s lead to 3-0.
San Francisco won seven of 10 games against Arizona in Bank One Ballpark and is 40-25 all-time in Phoenix. With how well his team hits in Phoenix, Alou said with a laugh, “We might not need Barry Bonds.” … Winn went 8-for-13 with two homers in the three games against the Diamondbacks. … Arizona 3B Troy Glaus, who reinjured his left knee Saturday, was scratched from the starting lineup Sunday and remains day-to-day. … Ortiz had not struck out a batter since Aug. 19 at Cincinnati before fanning Vizquel in the first, a span of 10 innings over three starts. … Before the game, the Giants recalled OF Dan Ortmeier from Double-A Norwich. Ortmeier hit .270 with 20 homers, 79 RBIs and 35 bases with Norwich, earning Eastern League postseason All-Star honors.