San Francisco hit that mark exactly against Colorado and Cain made it hold up, scattering four hits over seven innings to help the Giants beat the slumping Rockies 3-1 on Friday night. That upped Cain’s mark to 15-0 over the past two seasons when getting three runs or more behind him.
“I think most starters feel that way, if you get a two- or three-run lead, that’s set in our mind that we want to keep that lead,” Cain said. “I felt good. I really was just trying to concentrate on making pitches and worry about location more than velocity. That kind of helped me out with getting my mechanics right and getting into a little bit of a groove.”
Beyond that, Cain was nearly unhittable. The right-hander pitched with runners in scoring position for four straight innings but allowed just the one run and retired the final seven batters he faced to earn only his second win since April 15.
“I thought he got better as he went,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He made a couple of mistakes to the pitcher but overall that’s a great effort by Matty, which we needed. He just stayed away from making too many mistakes and that’s a key for Matt.”
Cody Ross(notes) hit a go-ahead two-run double in the fourth, rookie Brandon Crawford(notes) added an RBI double and Emmanuel Burris had three hits for the Giants, who beat the Rockies for the sixth time in nine games this season between the NL West rivals.
The Giants returned home after taking three of four from NL Central-leading St. Louis and picked up where they left off, sending the Rockies to their 11th loss in 14 games.
San Francisco did it much like it beat the Cardinals—with solid pitching and timely hitting.
Cain, who allowed a career-high 11 hits in a 6-0 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday, kept Colorado’s hitters silent most of the game while Ross and Crawford sparked the Giants’ three-run fourth.
That spoiled the road debut of Rockies rookie starter Juan Nicasio (1-1), who allowed nine hits in six innings with three strikeouts and an intentional walk.
“The kid has to pay for two hanging sliders, both with two outs,” Colorado manager Jim Tracy said of Nicasio. “He did an excellent job. Our trouble, once again, came from the lack of offense.”
It wasn’t easy, but that’s generally the case with Wilson. The two-time All-Star closer walked Chris Iannetta(notes) with one out then gave up a single to pinch-hitter Jason Giambi(notes). Pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs(notes) flied out to center before Wilson struck out Seth Smith(notes) to end it.
Nicasio got the Rockies first hit off Cain when he doubled down the right field line with one out in the third. Cain returned the favor with a one-out single off Nicasio in the bottom of the inning.
Cain (4-4) matched his season-high for walks by the fourth inning, and Colorado cashed in one for a run. Carlos Gonzalez(notes) walked, took third on a double by Troy Tulowitzki(notes) and scored on Todd Helton’s(notes) groundout.
San Francisco responded quickly.
Ross hit a two-run double and Crawford added an RBI double to give the Giants a 3-1 lead in the fourth.
Nicasio became the first pitcher in the majors this season with two extra base hits in the same game when he doubled over the head of center fielder Andres Torres(notes) leading off the fifth. The Rockies later loaded the bases with two outs as rain began to fall but Cain retired Helton on a comebacker to escape the threat.
Before the game the buzz at AT&T Park centered around comments made by Giants general manager Brian Sabean on a local radio station on Thursday regarding the season-ending injury suffered by catcher Buster Posey(notes) following a collision with Florida’s Scott Cousins(notes) on May 25.
Sabean criticized Cousins on his weekly radio show on KNBR, calling the play malicious and unnecessary. Sabean also said “if I never hear from Cousins again, or he doesn’t play another day in the big leagues, I think we’ll all be happy.”
Those comments got the attention of Major League Baseball, and executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre spoke with Sabean on Friday. The Giants also issued a statement saying Sabean’s comments were made out of frustration.
“It’s still a pretty raw emotional time for us,” team president Larry Baer said. “I mean, to lose (Posey) for the season, a guy who means so much to us. Having said that, we’re looking forward and we’re looking forward to Buster’s recovery. We’re certainly out of the business of talking about the incident and revisiting it other than we think it’s healthy dialogue to talk about what can be done to protect the player.”
Notes: Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval(notes) began a rehab assignment with Class A San Jose and could rejoin the team soon. Bochy said he wants Sandoval—on the DL since May 1 with a fractured hamate bone in his right wrist—to get 25-30 at-bats in the minors before returning to the big league club. … Struggling IF Miguel Tejada(notes), who went 4 for 27 on the Giants’ recent trip, was not in the starting lineup but not because of his .211 average. Bochy said he gave Tejada the day off to rest and will be back in the order Saturday. … Colorado LHP Jorge De La Rosa(notes) underwent Tommy John surgery in Los Angeles on Friday and results were good. … RHP Aaron Cook(notes), out since March 31 with a fractured right index finger, is penciled in to start for Colorado against San Diego on Wednesday. … Rockies RHP Esmil Rogers(notes) (lat strain) threw 67 pitches in extended spring training but the team is unsure where he’ll go next in his rehab.