SAN FRANCISCO In what was his most effective outing since a perfect game on June 13, Giants pitcher Matt Cain made it be known after a 9-3 win over Colorado on Saturday his struggles since that historic performance havent kept him up at night.
Thats just a bunch of noise from the media, according to Cain, who pitched seven-and-a-third effective innings and gave up just two earned runs in recording his 11th win.
You guys (the media) have just kind of put that out there. That hasnt been something Ive been worried about, Ive been worried about just going out there and pitching and trying to get guys out and help the team win, Cain said.
The numbers were hard to ignore, though. Cain was just 2-3 with a 4.40 ERA since he was perfect on that June night, allowing 29 earned runs in 57-and-a-third innings in his last nine starts. The Giants were just 2-6 in Cains previous eight starts before Saturday, after going 11-3 in the 14 before that.
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Manager Bruce Bochy hopes that Cain has returned to form.
He had command, the ball was moving, he pitched very effectively, all of his pitches worked. I sensed some determination out there today, Bochy said. Hes so good, and has done such a great job this year, and this was the Matt Cain that we know.
Cain said: I felt good last start (a loss to St. Louis on Monday), I just didnt make some pitches I needed to. Today, I felt like I was able to make just better quality pitches at times I needed to make them, and a little more consistent with getting ahead and throwing strikes early and getting defensive swings.
What was the difference?
I was on the plate more and I wasnt out in the middle more today, he said. I was able to be around the outer-thirds of the plate a little bit better. That was good, and something Ive been kind of working on the last two starts and in between in the bullpen sessions, too.
Of course, it helps that the Giants were able to get on Colorado starter Drew Pomeranz early and often, including a two-out, RBI single by Cain himself in the second inning. Pomeranz exited after surrendering four runs in four innings, while reliever Josh Roenicke didnt fare any better with four runs surrendered in the two innings that followed.
The Giants held a comfortable 5-0 lead after five, and increased it to 8-1 after six. Each of San Franciscos nine starters had at least one hit.
San Francisco has notoriously struggled to score runs at home this season, and had just two combined in its last three games at AT&T Park. The Giants busted out of that in a big way on Saturday.
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You go through your streaks, good and bad. You have your ruts. We were bound to come out of this, Bochy said. You start doing some good things offensively, and today we did. Again, it was really everybody doing something to help out and get the line moving, as we say.
Cain said: Thats always been a huge key for any starter, when the guys go out and jump on somebody early and get some runs early.
Buster Posey, who has thrust himself into the MVP discussion since the All-Star break, continued his torrid pace with a 2-for-4 performance, including one walk, a two-run home run and two RBIs. Hes 43-for-97 (.443) with nine home runs and 32 RBIs and has hit safely in 23 of 26 games since the Midsummer Classic.
His team-leading 19th home run of the season, on a change-up from Pomeranz in the third inning, gave the Giants a 4-0 lead. It was just the 18th home run by a Giants player at AT&T Park this season.
Im comfortable hitting here. I see the ball well. Its a big ballpark but the gaps are big too, so you have to take advantage of that, said Posey, who added that he believes the ball carries better at AT&T Park in day games.
Posey sat out on Friday night when the Giants were blanked by the Rockies in the first game of the series. He returned to bat fourth on Saturday.
Hes our cleanup hitter and that guy is usually the guy that the club feeds off. But, hes going to need an occasional day off, Bochy said. Hell get another day or two, or I dont know how many hell get from this point on. You cant throw him out there every day. And thats why I mentioned its going to take everybody doing something.
Cain hopes that Poseys surge can fly under the radar, something his struggles after the perfect game did not do.
Hes just been on fire, and thats something that hopefully we can just keep quiet and let him keep doing it, Cain said.
That, too, is unlikely.