Cain, six-run fourth carry Giants

Art Spander, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Cain pitched as expected. Tim Hudson did not. And so the San Francisco Giants, who have haven't had an easy victory in a while, got one Friday night, defeating the Atlanta Braves 8-2.
"We don't have a lot these games," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It kind of nice."
It was a game no one could have foreseen. Instead, it figured to end as it began, if not scoreless -- as it was for three innings -- but with few runs for either side.
In the fourth inning, however, the Giants had their biggest offensive eruption of the season with six runs.
"Two great pitchers," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said, "and they were throwing zeroes for three innings. What we were hoping for. They were battling it out among themselves. Then it just sort of unraveled for us."
The Giants opened the fateful fourth with five straight hits. Some were dribblers -- Hunter Pence beat out a roller to third. Some were blasts -- Buster Posey doubled off the left-field fence. Big or small, they were the reason for Hudson's shortest start of season, which lasted 3 2/3 innings.
"Obviously, it was a nightmare inning," Hudson said. "I made very good pitches to get the inning going and then it seemed when I needed a break here or there their balls just found some holes. And they hit some balls that were tough plays. I had a hard time stopping the bleeding. The inning didn't go our way for sure.
Gonzalez seconded the motion.
"Some mishit balls, a chopper hit too slow," he said. "Those mixed in with a couple of extra-base hits did it. It happens to good sinker-ball pitchers like Tim."
What happened to Cain, who threw a perfect game last season, was he picked up a second straight victory after going winless in April, reassuring the Giants, the World Series champions, there was nothing wrong that couldn't be corrected.
Or that a six-run inning couldn't help.
"It's great when you get some run support," said Cain, who was part of that support, singling in a run after the batter in front of him, Brandon Crawford was walked intentionally with first base open.
For those interested in details, this is how the top of the fourth went. Marco Scutaro, whose sore back has healed -- and so has his batting average -- with shoe inserts lifting his shorter right leg, led off with a single. That gave him a 10-game hitting streak.
Pablo Sandoval singled, Posey doubled, Pence singled, Brandon Belt singled and after Andres Torres struck out, Crawford and Cain singled. After a strikeout by Angel Pagan, once more there was Scutaro, getting his second hit of the inning. Six runs. Bye, bye, Tim.
"It was just that one inning." Hudson said. "They got a lot of pitches to hit and I got into a jam. A couple breaks go their way and then they got a couple other pitches to hit."
He halted and laughed. "And that got me out of the game."
Cain was very much into the game. He went eight innings, and gave up three hits and no walks. After a win last Sunday against the Dodgers, he has regained his magic.
"I've been feeling good," said Cain, who still has a 5.04 ERA. "Two in a row. My catchers, Buster and (Guillermo) Quiroz have worked on instilling confidence."
A line drive by Brian McCann drilled Cain in the second, but Cain picked up the ball -- and picked up himself -- and threw to first. It hurt, but McCann's two-run homer in the fifth, his second home run in two games, probably hurt in a different way.
"It's sore," Cain said of his right thigh, where he was hit, "but I'll take the usual treatment."
Bochy, now with strong evidence, repeated earlier claims there was nothing wrong with Cain.
"He showed it tonight," Bochy said. "He had great stuff and great command."
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 wearing 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 on Thursday against Pawtucket. Heyward underwent an appendectomy on April 22 in Denver.

What to Read Next