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Giants 8, Braves 2

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO - The San Francisco Giants looked like the World Series champions they are, blending beautiful pitching by Matt Cain and their biggest offensive inning of the year Friday night to defeat the Atlanta Braves, 8-2.

Cain, with a second fine performance after a winless April, allowed only three hits, and even added a run-scoring single in a six-run fourth that chased Tim Hudson, who gave up seven hits in the inning before being relieved.

It was a change for both the Giants, who in the home stand had won three walk-off games, and Atlanta, which had been winning as much with its arms as its bats and had a 3.29 team earned run average.

Held to one hit through three innings by Hudson, the National League Player of the Week in the period ending last Sunday, San Francisco sent 11 men to the plate in the fourth. Second baseman Marco Scutaro had two hits in the inning, Buster Posey had a double and even Cain had a single to right.

The Giants' other runs came on a two-run blast over the right field wall in the seventh by Angel Pagan.

Cain got his first victory last Sunday against the Dodgers after six previous starts. Friday night, looking very much like the man who pitched a perfect game in 2012, Cain struck out seven and was in trouble only once in eight innings, giving up a two-run homer to Brian McCann in the fifth.

Cain and Hudson early on pitched exactly the way two of the game's best would, each allowing only one hit through three innings, Atlanta getting an infield single by Jordan Schafer, San Francisco a line drive by Brandon Crawford.

"When you face Hudson, you don't score a lot runs," Giants manager Bruce Bochy advised before the game. In fact, Hudson, who entered with a 3.83 ERA, was named NL Player of the Week for the period ending Sunday.

But the Giants broke through in the fourth. Scutaro, extending his hitting streak to 10 games, opened with a single. Sandoval followed with a single. Posey doubled left, scoring Scutaro, with Sandoval moving to third.

He scored on Hunter Pence's infield hit. Brandon Belt singled in another run, and after an intentional walk to Crawford, Cain figuratively sneered at the tactic by singling home Pence.

Up for a second time in the inning - the bottom of the fourth lasted more than 25 minutes - Scutaro singled down the left-field line. That made it 6-0 Giants, and Hudson was replaced by David Carpenter.

The 3 2/3 innings he pitched were Hudson's fewest in eight starts this season.

Cain, perhaps because of the length of time he wasn't on the mound, was shaky in the top of the fifth, walking Dan Uggla and then giving up a monster homer into McCovey Cove by McCann, his second in two days. Then he retired the next three Braves.

NOTES: Although the Giants announced their 185th straight sellout at AT&T, there were numerous empty seats, probably because fans had stayed home to watch the Warriors-Spurs NBA playoff, held at the same time across the bay in Oakland . . .The Braves were managed Friday night (and will be again Saturday) by bench coach Carlos Tosca so manager Fredi Gonzalez could attend the graduation of his daughter, Gigi, from Georgia Southern. The two games count toward Gonzalez's career record . . . As has become tradition on "Orange Friday," at home games, the Giants wore that color jersey instead of white; the Braves, went to their road grays, after blue on Thursday . . . Bochy said he thought reliever Santiago Casilla, who left Wednesday's game against Philadelphia when a long-existing cyst behind his right knee began to bother him, should be able to pitch by Saturday. . . . Atlanta outfielder Jason Heyward began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett, going 0-for-5 as a DH Thursday against Pawtucket. Heyward underwent an appendectomy April 22 in Denver.
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