Cain masterful, Giants sweep again

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Cain masterful, Giants sweep again

May 12, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS POSTGAME VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Matt Cain didn't have much time to react at the ball coming straight for his head. The San Francisco pitcher tried to twist out of the way but hit the dirt within seconds, clutching his right hand in pain.It was the most damage the Arizona Diamondbacks inflicted on Cain all afternoon.Cain stayed in the game and finished his best outing in nearly a month, Nate Schierholtz added three hits and made an outstanding defensive play and the Giants beat the Diamondbacks 3-2 Thursday to complete a perfect homestand."Matty's so tough," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "He could have come out of that game but he wanted to stay in. He just kept going out there throwing up zeros."
VIDEO: Bruce Bochy postgame
Cain (3-2) scattered seven hits over 7 2-3 innings with seven strikeouts and one walk to win for the first time since April 15. He retired 17 of 18 hitters during one stretch and left to a rousing ovation from the sold-out crowd at AT&T Park after giving up back-to-back hits with two outs in the ninth.Cain might not have made it that far had the pitch from Arizona starter Daniel Hudson missed a little more inside.Cain, who was trying to put down a sacrifice bunt, tried to get out of the way but was hit on the back of his hand and immediately dropped to his knees as manager Bruce Bochy and trainer Dave Groeschner rushed out from the dugout.Plate umpire Bill Miller ruled the ball hit Cain's bat and was a foul. After getting checked out, Cain stayed in the game and got the bunt down, moving Eli Whiteside from second to third. Andres Torres followed with a double and Aubrey Huff's RBI single made it 3-0."Those are the ones where you really don't have a whole lot of options to get out of the way," Cain said. "The bat and my hand probably saved my face."
URBAN: Cain deals with pain
Whiteside doubled twice to help the surging Giants go 6-0 at home. They swept Colorado and then Arizona to extend their season-high winning streak to six games.Gerardo Parra, Xavier Nady and Justin Upton had two hits apiece for Arizona, which has lost four straight.The Diamondbacks scored twice in the eighth and had the tying run at third base with one out in the ninth before Javier Lopez recorded the final two outs for his first save in nearly five years."I feel like we got outplayed this series, I got outmanaged and they swept us," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "Those guys are the world champions and they showed it this series. We've got to just pick ourselves up."Schierholtz, making his 10th start of the season, made big plays in the field and at the plate to give the Giants an early boost. He singled in Cody Ross in the second for a 1-0 lead, then threw out Parra at second base after he singled off the wall in right the next inning.Schierholtz, who grounded out with the bases loaded in the third, also beat out an infield single in the sixth but was stranded at third.The Giants tacked on two more and Cain made it stand up with his best outing in nearly a month. He left after giving up back-to-back singles with two outs in the eighth."That's definitely the homestand we needed," Cain said. "I got those guys in a little bit of a pickle in the eighth and the bullpen really didn't worry about it."Reliever Jeremy Affeldt got Stephen Drew to hit a sharp grounder to first, but the ball glanced off Huff's glove for a hit. Parra easily scored from third to end the shutout bid.Upton followed with an RBI single off Ramon Ramirez to cut the gap to 3-2, but Ramirez got Russell Branyan to ground out wit the tying run at second.Ryan Roberts singled leading off the ninth for Arizona and took third on Chris Young's pinch-hit single. Lopez, working in the closer role while Brian Wilson rested after pitching five straight games, struck out Kelly Johnson and then got Parra on a swinging strikeout to end the game. It was Lopez's first save since Sept. 12, 2006.NOTES: Giants C Buster Posey was held out of the starting lineup after taking two foul balls off his mask on Wednesday night. "There are no concerns or issues," Bochy said. "We're just being a little careful." ... Giants RHP Santiago Casilla, on the DL since April 6 with an inflamed right elbow, is scheduled to start for Class-A San Jose on Friday. Bochy said the plan is for Casilla to throw 20-25 pitches, then be stretched out to two innings in his next outing. ... Parra's error on Torres' fly ball in the third was his first of the season. ... The Giants have sold out each of their 15 home games. ... This is San Francisco's first undefeated home stand of five games or more since May 25-30, 2004. ... Upton leads Arizona with 10 multi-hit games. ... Drew, who had two hits and an RBI, is batting .385 with runners in scoring position.

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

Giants put it together in all phases, get back in win column

SAN FRANCISCO — In the bottom of the eighth inning Monday, with the Giants finally running away with one, Johnny Cueto started blowing into a giant wad of bubble gum. He held two hands out, ready to catch remnants of an explosion as Brandon Crawford and Kelby Tomlinson looked on and smiled. 

A few minutes later, players started migrating to the dugout rail as they have done in each of the three starts Ryder Jones has made. They are ready to cheer on a rookie’s first big league hit, even if the wait has been an excruciating one for the third baseman. 

Bruce Bochy likes to say that your personality is better when you’re winning, and his players certainly showed that Monday in snapshots here and there. They woke up to a report that there were fractured in the clubhouse, caused in large part by the new closer. They denied it, they met as a group, and then, finally, they won. 

Jeff Samardzija pitched as he has for two months, the top of the lineup came through over and over again, and Brandon Crawford paced a golden night with the gloves. A 9-2 win over the Rockies was just the second since June 11 and it snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Rockies. Any win is meaningful at this point, but this one seemed to mean just a little bit more given the drama of the day. 

“Despite what people might think, we still have a pretty good group here and we get along just fine,” Crawford said. “We’re all rooting for each other.”

It’s one thing to support teammates off the field, and there’s been no indication that the Giants aren’t doing that. It’s quite another to be hand-in-hand between the lines, and for much of this season, Samardzija has been on an island. 

The right-hander has been Bochy’s best pitcher since Madison Bumgarner went down in the hills outside Denver. But he entered Monday with a 2-9 record and 4.74 ERA inflated by faulty defense. He hasn’t grumbled, but he has grown accustomed to the worst, and when Nolan Arenado bounced a ball deep to the hole in shortstop with two on and two outs in the third, Samardzija figured the game was probably tied. 

“I’m thinking maybe they charge it in the outfield and maybe make a play at home,” Samardzija said. “But with a guy like that at shortstop, things change so fast.”

Crawford scooped the ball on the edge of the grass. He would have liked nothing more than to make an otherworldly throw to first to nail his World Baseball Classic teammate, but he knew the best chance was at third. A couple of days ago, Crawford and Jones discussed how the rookie should cover third on such a play. Jones played it perfectly, retreating in time to catch Crawford’s inning-ending throw. 

“The best thing (about Crawford) is he doesn’t even talk about it,” Samardzija said.

No, Crawford put the spotlight on Jones.

“That’s a pretty heads-up play,” he said. “We talked about it and he was there. It was a funny coincidence.”

The play held the lead, and the Giants kept pushing. The top four hitters in the lineup finished with 10 hits, six RBI and six runs. Brandon Belt had an RBI triple in the five-spot. Crawford drove in a run behind him. Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson added insurance from the bottom. Bochy watched it all from the top step and saw a group collectively relax.

“Just quit fighting it so much,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent in this offense. There’s no reason they can’t put consistent runs on the board. Tonight I just thought the at-bats were so much better and the focus was. Once it started rolling, guys felt better about themselves, and it just got contagious.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

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AP

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' skid-snapping win over Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — On a day that started with controversy, Giants players called a meeting following batting practice. Perhaps they were talking about when and where to stretch. Perhaps a reminder was given to keep clubhouse complaints in the actual clubhouse. 

Or, perhaps, the players just decided that enough was enough. 

In a rare display, the Giants put a clean and complete game together. They beat the Rockies 9-2 at AT&T Park, getting just their second win since June 11 and snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Rockies. 

Jeff Samardzija continued his hot streak, the lineup was opportunistic and flashed some power, and the defense sparkled at times. Here are five things to know from the throwback night … 

—- Samardzija walked off to a standing ovation after throwing 112 pitches. He was charged with two earned in 6 1/3 innings. Ignore the record and ERA for a second — his FIP is 3.37 and his xFIP is 2.95. He really is having a very good and underrated season. 

—- Here’s another one for your Samardzija file: Over the past two months, he has 82 strikeouts and three walks. 

—- It was a good day in the race for another Brandon Crawford Gold Glove. Adeiny Hechavarria, one of the few in the National League who even approaches Crawford, was traded to the Rays. Crawford added to the reel by gunning a runner down on third and making a nifty spin-and-throw in the fourth to rob Ian Desmond of a hit. 

—- There are nights where Denard Span looks like a game-changer, and this was one of them. He had a single, walk and triple in his first three plate appearances, scoring twice as the Giants built a 5-0 lead. He was spry in center, too 

—- Nolan Arenado was 0 for 4. Apparently that’s legal now. (It was actually his ninth 0 for 4 or worse against the Giants, in 81 games.)

—- Bonus sixth fact since the Giants won a game: Sam Dyson, acquired basically for free, is the new setup man. That didn’t take long, and it probably won’t be changing anytime soon. Dyson gave up a single but struck out the other three batters he faced.