SAN DIEGO The relentless approach, the hard contact, the smart baserunning, the consistency
Were not describing those qualities that the Giants will miss most from Melky Cabrera. Were describing what his former teammates did without him Friday night.
They worked San Diego Padres right-hander Ross Ohendorf down to a nub in an eight-run third inning, putting up one tenacious at-bat after another to provide ample support for Matt Cain in a 10-1 victory at Petco Park.
Combined with the Dodgers extra-inning loss at Atlanta, the Giants nudged back into first place, a half-game ahead of their archrivals.
Marco Scutaro hit a home run in the first inning, Brandon Crawford doubled to touch off the clubs biggest single-inning feast of the season and Cain took a no-hitter into the fifth inning as the Giants played nearly flawless baseball to start their six-game road trip.
Starting pitching report
Nobody is better than Cain at stabilizing a troubled situation. His outing was a seismic retrofit for a rotation that simply must step up its game down the stretch.
Cain (12-5) held the Padres to a run on four hits and one walk in eight innings. He threw 74 of 108 pitches for strikes and he did it in typical fashion, brushing his hard, exploding fastball on the periphery while flipping in enough offspeed stuff to keep the Padres off balance.
Cain retired the first nine hitters before the Giants gave him a big lead, just as they did when he threw his perfect game against Houston on June 13. But Logan Forsythe got hit by a pitch in the fourth and Yonder Alonso made the no-hitter go away in the fifth. Everth Cabreras two-out single scored Alonso the only earned run Cain has allowed in his last two starts (spanning 15 innings) at Petco Park.
Cain improved to 6-0 in eight starts that follow Giants losses.
George Kontos pitched the ninth. Miles Mikolas pitched for the Padres earlier in the game. Perhaps they celebrated their Greek heritage together over some baklava and flaming cheese.
At the plate
The Giants sent 13 men to the plate in their eight-run third inning, which began with Crawfords double and a rare failure when Cain popped up a sacrifice bunt.
Angel Pagan, who entered with a .308 average and .403 on-base percentage in 13 games since moving back to the leadoff spot, followed with a triple and Scutaro used a solid approach to bang an RBI single up the middle.
The good at-bats continued. Pablo Sandoval fouled off a series of tough, two-strike pitches. Then he took one, allowing Scutaro to steal second base and move to third when catcher Yasmani Grandals throw clipped him on the shoulder. Sandoval followed by smoking an RBI single through the right side.
The Giants werent satisfied with a three-run rally. After Buster Posey walked, Hunter Pence yanked an RBI double down the left field line. Then Brandon Belt had perhaps the best plate appearance of the night, working a 12-pitch walk. Gregor Blanco, Matt Cain and Pagan would contribute three more RBI hits with Crawford scoring his second run of the inning before Scutaro finally grounded into a fielders choice to strand two.
Pagan led the club with three hits and seven different Giants crossed the plate in one of their most satisfying performances of the season.
Angel Pagan covered plenty of ground in center field to keep Cains no-hitter intact into the fifth. But Padres second baseman Logan Forsythe made the play of the game, diving to snare Pences ground ball up the middle and quickly recovering to throw him out to end the fourth.
The Padres announced 38,755 paid on Orange Friday at Petco Park.
The Giants continue their series at AT&T Park South, otherwise known as Petco Park, on Saturday with a 5:35 p.m. (PDT) first pitch. Barry Zito (9-8, 4.29) takes the mound against left-hander Eric Stults (3-2, 2.45), who was marvelous in his cameo in Pulp Fiction.