Giants Insider notes: Cain on his game

May 19, 2011, 6:04 am
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May 18, 2011

Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants' 8-5 victory over the host Dodgers on Wednesday night in the opener of a two-game series at Chavez Ravine.Cain on his game: San Francisco right-hander Matt Cain extended his streak of consecutive scoreless innings against the Dodgers to 20 by starting the game with four perfect innings before Matt Kemp led off the fifth with a solo homer. It appeared to rattle Cain's cage a bit; he walked Juan Uribe, hit James Loney with a pitch and walked Jay Gibbons to load the bases with nobody out. What followed, though, was Cain's most impressive pitching of the night. After retiring Rod Barajas on an infield popup, he got pinch hitter Juan Castro on a fly ball that wasn't deep enough to tempt Uribe into testing center fielder Aaron Rowand's arm, and the threat of a big inning died when Cain coaxed a groundout to second from Jamey Carroll.
RECAP: Ross' blast lifts Giants to 8-5 win over Dodgers
Slaying the dragon: Los Angeles lefty Clayton Kershaw brought an even longer streak of consecutive scoreless innings against his team's top rival into the contest, having shut out the Giants over 23 23. He extended the streak by retiring the first eight batters of the game, but Cain singled with two out in the third, moved to third base on a single by Rowand and scored on a single by Freddy Sanchez. The Giants continued to pepper the Dodgers' ace in the fourth, getting consecutive singles from Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff and Miguel Tejada to open the inning before pinch hitter Mike Fontenot, stepping in for injured Mark DeRosa, drew a bases-loaded walk. A sacrifice fly by Rowand capped the rally, and Kershaw was gone after five innings.The daily shuffle: A night after going 0-for-5, Andres Torres took a seat in favor of Rowand despite Rowand's career .091 (1-for-11) batting average against Kershaw, and Sanchez was back at second base after spending Tuesday night in Colorado resting his swollen left knee. Rowand contributed to both rallies and Sanchez's single opened the scoring, once again making manager Bruce Bochy look like he has some sort of crystal ball hidden inside that massive lid of his.Nice approach: The prudent approach for right-handed hitters against a tough lefty such as Kershaw is to look to hit the ball up the middle or to the opposite field. While helping to put together a stretch of seven singles in eight at-bats bridging the third and fourth inning, Cain, Rowand, Sanchez and Burrell went to right field, and Ross went up the middle.DeRosa done?: Still hoping to help DeRosa snap out of his deep offensive funk, Bochy gave him his third consecutive start at third base. It's now unclear if DeRosa will ever again make a start in a Giants uniform, because he left the game in the fourth inning with what the team called a left wrist strain. The wrist has been an issue for DeRosa ever since he signed a two-year, 12 million deal as a free agent before the 2010 season. Before leaving the game in obvious pain after a barely perceptible checked swing, DeRosa saw his streak of hitless at-bats reach 19 since coming off the DL earlier this month -- he was on it with wrist inflammation -- and he's 0-for-23 overall since going 2-for-3 at Arizona on April 16.
NEWS: Giants' DeRosa headed for DL with wrist strain
Tejada tacks on: The Dodgers cut into the Giants' lead with a run in the bottom of the seventh, but Tejada, who was nothing short of brutal for much of the season's first five week but has been showing signs of life of late both at the plate and on defense, got the run back with a two-out single in the top of the eighth. It was the team's 10th hit of the night, all of them singles, and the first nine of them came from nine different players.Right back to him: Bochy is beloved by his players in part because he shows a ton of faith in them after they've had a particularly tough game. That was in evidence -- and paid off -- Wednesday when he turned to Javier Lopez, who had struggled during an ugly 16-pitch outing in relief of Jonathan Sanchez at Colorado on Tuesday. With dangerous Andre Ethier at the plate and a runner on with one out in the eighth, Lopez came on for the lefty-on-lefty situation in which he typically excels and froze Ethier with a called third strike on a 2-2 pitch for what, at the time, appeared to be one of the biggest outs of the game.Cain's pain: Sergio Romo took over for Lopez after Ethier struck out and was greeted with a single by Kemp, prompting Bochy to bring on closer Brian Wilson for what would have been his first four-out save of the season. Wilson, however, gave up a two-run double to Uribe before Loney bounced an RBI single between second baseman Sanchez and first baseman Huff, who looked like he could have flagged it down but instead opted to head for first base, perhaps thinking Sanchez had a bead on the ball. Thus, Cain was charged with three runs for his 7 13 innings of three-hit work with three walks and seven strikeouts, and what should have been his fourth victory ended up being his fourth no-decision.Torture: Cody Ross. Three-run homer with two out in the ninth. Got heeeeeem!

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