MIAMI The Giants wont get a four-hit game every day from Melky Cabrera. Three in his last 14 starts is amazing enough.
But crisp defense, solid starting pitching and manager Bruce Bochy using his frontline relievers to fit together the late innings like a jigsaw puzzle? Now that sounds like a familiar formula to victory.The Giants received all of that to make a winner of Matt Cain in a 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday. Cabrera, the major league hits leader, capped a banner road trip with a homer, three singles and two stolen bases. He scored all three runs and outhit all of his teammates, 4 to 3.
The victory allowed the Giants to complete a winning road trip and split four games in their first-ever visit to Marlins Park.
Starting pitching reportThis was one of Cains signature give-no-quarter starts.
With his defense playing crisply behind him, Cain faced the minimum over the first four innings -- even refusing to cooperate when Ricky Nolasco tried to sacrifice in the third. Cain tried to overpower him with a high fastball, and with two strikes, Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen had his pitcher swing away. It led to a double play when Nolasco whiffed and catcher Buster Posey threw out Chris Coghlan at second base.Cain gave up a run in the fifth inning, but the Giants positioning and some bad luck was more to blame. Cain pitched carefully to Giancarlo Stanton while issuing a leadoff walk, then Logan Morrison took advantage of the shift the Giants played on him all weekend. He waited for just the right moment to spring his trap, pushing a bunt along the vacant left side for an easy single. Morrison even sold the stratagem well, backing out of the box and taking a couple of deep breaths beforehand.Cain nearly fought his way out of the jam when he elevated a fastball to strike out Bryan Petersen and got John Buck to pop up. But Coghlan, the most dangerous .111-averaging No.8 hitter in the league, grounded an RBI single through the right side. (Coghlan hit the tiebreaking three-run homer off Tim Lincecum earlier in this series, too.)Another leadoff walk in the sixth put Cain in the stretch early. With one out, he hit Hanley Ramirez with a pitch. But Stantons loud contact was more high than deep, and center fielder Angel Pagan barely was able to make a catch after he seemed to lose the ball momentarily in the roof. Cain got Morrison to ground out to end the threat, although it took a highlight-level play from second baseman Ryan Theriot.Cain did not survive the seventh, though. Petersen hit a leadoff single and took second when Pagan let the ball trickle past him for an error. A ground out and a two-out walk to pinch hitter Greg Dobbs put runners at the corners before Jose Reyes lined an RBI single to end Cains afternoon.
Cains career record is 74-75.
Bullpen reportBochy got burned twice on this road trip when starting pitchers lost the lead in the sixth inning or later. Bochy did not allow that to happen this time.
With Cain laboring in the seventh, he went to Sergio Romo the move he didnt make in Milwaukee, when Ryan Braun hit a home run off Madison Bumgarner.Romo did what Romo does. He threw five sliders from various tilts and angles to Omar Infante to strike him out, strand both of Cains runners and maintain the one-run lead.Romo didnt give in when he faced the dangerous Stanton in the eighth, walking him on a 3-2 slider. Romos mates picked him up, as Javier Lopez strick out Morrison and Santiago Casilla fanned pinch hitter Justin Ruggiano to end the inning.
Casilla pitched around a two-out single in the ninth to complete his first four-out save of the season and the third of his career. Hes 12 for 13 in save chances this season.
At the plateMelky Cabrera had a game that would make any fantasy owner proud. It translated pretty well in the real world, too.He tied his career high with four hits, which hes done nine times-- including three times in his last 14 starts. The other major leaguers to collect a trio of four-hit games this season: Austin Jackson, Joey Votto, Andrew McCutchen and Derek Jeter.Cabrera lined a solo home run in the first inning and sprayed singles in the fourth, sixth and eighth. He also stole two bases, including one that put him in position to score a run in the fourth.
He has 46 hits in May and three games remaining to get the five hed need to match Randy Winns San Francisco-era record for hits in a month.One more on Melky: His major league-best 73 hits are the second most by a Giant through 48 games in SF-era history. The great Willie Mays had an astounding 84 hits through 48 games in 1958.Buster Posey had a productive day in the cleanup spot, too. He singled behind Cabrera in the fourth to set up Pagans sacrifice fly. Posey cashed in Cabrera himself in the sixth, when he hit one of his signature fly balls to center field that just keep on carrying. It hit halfway up the fence near the 418-foot mark.
The Giants did not score again, and Bochy got outfoxed when he tried to squeeze in a run in the ninth. It was a predictable gambit and Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen ordered a pitchout on Arias to hang up Pagan in a rundown. (Replays showed that third baseman Hanley Ramirez missed the tag, but umpire Mark Wegner called Pagan out.)
In fieldThe Giants played one of their best defensive games of the season. Third baseman Joaquin Arias, despite playing very deep, charged Stantons slow chopper and made a barehand pickup followed by a strong throw in the second inning.
Pagan turned in a very Paganian game in center field. Along with his error on Peterson, he also contributed a gem of a catch in the third while sliding on his stomach to grab John Bucks sinking line drive an inch off the turf.Theriot isnt known for his defense these days, but he ranged up the middle to keep Morrisons grounder on the infield, then executed a jump-hop throw to record the third out in the sixth.
AttendanceThe Marlins announced 30,199 paid, not including the body-painted servers in the Clevelander nightclub beyond the left field fence.
Up nextThe Giants begin a seven-game homestand with a Memorial Day matinee against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday. The club sent left-hander Barry Zito back to San Francisco ahead of the charter flight so hell be well rested. Zito (3-2, 3.53) will oppose right-hander Trevor Cahill (2-4, 3.74).