CHICAGO The Giants have hit the fewest home runs in the major leagues. The wind was blowing in off Lake Michigan Sunday afternoon, too.
Good thing they can string hits together like Christmas lights.
Even without Melky Cabera, and a total lack of power from positions of traditional thump, the Giants keep finding ways to move the line along. Xavier Nady started all three of their scoring rallies, including a two-run sixth that tied the score and a two-run ninth that delivered a 7-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Nady, who hit a bases-clearing double in his Giants debut Saturday, was an impact presence once again. He walked to start two innings, including a three-run third. His final act was to draw a walk from Carlos Marmol to begin the ninth. Pinch-runner Gregor Blanco stole a base and scored the tiebreaking run on Angel Pagans single to left field. Marco Scutaro followed with another RBI single as the Giants pulled out a series victory and concluded a highly successful 5-1 road trip.
The Giants are 10-2 in their last dozen road games and have won four consecutive series away from AT&T Park. They wont stray further from Denver the remainder of the season.
Starting pitching report
Matt Cain was cruising toward his 14th victory, which would have matched his career high. But Soriano dashed those plans with one swing in the fifth inning.
Cain knew immediately that his poorly located 1-0 fastball wasnt coming back unless thrown by a bleacher creature. He bent at the waist and slapped the mound as Soriano watched his three-run home run cut through the lake breeze.
Until then, Cain was having a very good day. He gave up a run in the third inning when No. 8 hitter Darwin Barney singled, advanced on a sacrifice and scored on David DeJesus line single.
The Cubs used the same combination Barney single, a sacrifice and a DeJesus line single to right field to score again in the fifth. But DeJesus didnt get an RBI this time because the third base coach had held Barney before right fielder Hunter Pence bobbled the ball. Pence was charged with an error for allowing Barney to score.
After a walk to Luis Valbuena and a fielders choice, Cain faced Soriano with two outs. Back in the third inning, Cain was able to get out of a two-on, two-out situation when he threw a pair of two-strike curveballs and got Soriano to swing through the last one.
But this time Cain fell behind, and his 1-0 pitch wasnt remotely close to Buster Poseys low-and-away target. The fastball ran up and tailed middle-in, right into Sorianos happy zone.
Cain retired the next hitter to end the fifth but the damage was done. The home run turned a 3-2 lead into a 5-3 deficit.
The Giants dont win without near perfect work from their relievers. Jose Mijares, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla navigated the sixth through the eighth.
Casilla began the ninth and yielded to left-hander Javier Lopez after giving up a one-out single.
At the plate
The Giants have done a credible job of scoring runs without the longball, and they did it again while grabbing a 3-0 lead in the third inning. Angel Pagan, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey hit RBI singles in a four-batter span.
Nady set up the inning with a leadoff walk and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo threw wide for an error as Cain reached after getting down a sacrifice bunt.
Nady also started the Giants two-run rally in the sixth with a double, and when the Cubs pulled left-hander Travis Wood for right-hander Manuel Corpas, Giants manager Bruce Bochy sent up Brandon Belt to pinch hit for first baseman Brett Pill. Belt tripled into the left field corner to score Nady.
Then Bochy sent pinch hitter Aubrey Huff to the plate for the first time since July 30 (and just the fourth at-bat since June 10). Considering the long layoff, Huff had an impressive at-bat. He fouled off a two-strike pitch to stay alive, then Belt scored the tying run on a wild breaking ball in the dirt.
Huff ended up hitting a deep out to right field.
Soriano didnt merely frustrate Cain with his home run swing. The left fielder also denied Cain when he crashed against the ivy while catching the pitchers well-struck drive in the fourth.
Soriano returned to his more familiar fielding foibles glove in the sixth when he didnt look so smooth while failing to catch Belts triple in the left field corner.
Angel Pagan had a right to feel robbed. Third baseman Luis Valbuena made a diving stop of a hard-hit grounder to take away a single from Pagan in the fifth inning. And center fielder Brett Jackson charged before making a sliding catch of Pagans flare in the seventh.
Blanco made a huge contribution in the ninth when he caught Brett Jacksons leadoff shot against the ivy in left field. Plus there was Blancos stolen base, too. Hes the new Darren Ford on this team.
The Cubs announced 39,760 paid. Olympic hockey legend Phil Esposito was the guest conductor for Take Me Out to the Ballgame. He believes in miracles, obviously. But the Cubs winning the World Series? You might need something stronger.
The Giants play their final 28 games against NL West teams, beginning with a Labor Day matinee against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday. Barry Zito (10-8, 4.42) will oppose left-hander Patrick Corbin (5.6, 3.93). Ryan Vogelsong is scheduled to pitch Tuesday against right-hander Ian Kennedy (12-11, 4.27) and Madison Bumgarner is due to pitch the series finale Wednesday against right-hander Trevor Cahill (9-11, 4.02). The Giants are 27-17 within the division thus far this season.