SAN FRANCISCO -- Every once in a rare while, grizzled baseball veterans are able to look beyond the final result to appreciate the simple beauty of a game.
Of course, winning helps too.
After Melky Cabrera's RBI single gave the Giants a 1-0, 11-inning victory over the Phillies, manager Bruce Bochy marveled at the spectacle of Cliff Lee and Matt Cain locked in a memorable duel. Bochy even agreed with comparing this game to a classic Juan Marichal-Sandy Koufax matchup.
"This is as good as it gets," Bochy said. "I think it's fair to compare these two to those two. You just don't see two better pitched games than what you saw tonight, especially the way they both pounded the strike zone. It was incredible."
After hearing what Bochy said, Cain said: "That's pretty awesome. That's good to hear."
Cain and Lee were each dominant. Lee became the first big league pitcher since Mark Mulder in 2005 to pitch 10 scoreless innings. No Phillies starter had recorded an out beyond the ninth inning since 1993.
Cain pitched nine scoreless innings for a second game in a row. His previous outing was a one-hit shutout.
"It was a classic pitcher's duel," Lee said. "It's the first time I ever threw 10 innings. It was neat. I'd rather give up two runs and get the win though."
Added Phillies manager Charlie Manuel: "That was a good game. Both guys were absolutely tremendous."
The game was in the hands of the bullpens when Brandon Belt started the winning rally with a broken-bat single with one out in the 11th. Angel Pagan then reached on an error by third baseman Ty Wigginton, who couldn't hold his grounder.
Cabrera's line drive into right center, his third hit of the game, drove in Belt with the winning run.
Clay Hensley, who helped the Giants escape a jam with a runner at third in the top of the 11th, picked up the victory.
Both starters cruised for the entire night. The Giants had only two runners get into scoring position against Lee, none after the fifth inning. They put the leadoff man on in the ninth and 10th innings, but both times hit into double plays. The Giants hit into four double plays.
The Phillies had only two runners in scoring position against Cain, none after the fifth. Cain retired the final 13 batters he faced he faced.
Meanwhile, Lee was buzzing through the Giants, retiring 12 in a row at one point.
"That was fun," Cain said. "That was really fun to be a part of. It was nonstop back and forth. Both of us throw a lot of strikes and get guys out. We were both pounding the strike zone."
Cain threw 64 strikes in 91 pitches and Lee threw 81 strikes in his 102 pitches.
The Giants' only threats against Lee were extinguished by double plays, in the first, fourth, ninth and 10th innings.
The Phillies had two on and one out in the fifth, when Cain escaped with a double play.
The Giants bullpen worked out of a dicey jam in the top of the 11th. Carlos Ruiz led off with a double and went to third on a sacrifice. When Jim Thome was announced as the pinch-hitter, Bochy countered with his ace lefty, Javier Lopez.
Lopez struck out Thome. Bochy then called on Hensley, righty, after the Phillies sent up right-handed pinch-hitter John Mayberry, and Hensley got Mayberry on a groundout.
NOTES: Giants closer Brian Wilson will undergo Tommy John surgery on Thursday in Pensacola, Fla. The Giants had expected this would be the outcome when Wilson was sent to see Dr. James Andrews. Wilson underwent the same surgery while he was in college in 2003. . . . Pablo Sandoval singled in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, tied with Minnesota's Josh Willingham for the longest active streak in the young season. The Giants began the day leading the
majors with 16 errors. . . . Placido Polanco, who was hitting .179, got the day off. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Polanco has started slow because he was hurt in spring training. He also said Polancoís swing isnít balanced right now.