The last time Matt Cain (10-3) faced the Astros on June 13th, he didn’t allow a hitter to reach first base as he threw the 22nd perfect game in major league history. While it was clear early on that he didn’t have the same electric stuff in this game, he still managed to limit the Astros to two runs over six innings as San Francisco downed Houston 3-2.
The Giants offense came alive early as Gregor Blanco and Emmanuel Burriss led off the game with back to back singles and later scored on an RBI hit from Buster Posey and a bases-loaded walk by Brandon Belt.
Staked to an early two-run lead, Houston would tie the game on a pair of rallies in the third and fourth innings.
The first run came after Cain surrendered a leadoff double to Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez. After Gonzalez was bunted over to third base, a bunt that Cain fielded and made a nice play on, Houston’s center fielder Jordan Schafer laid down another bunt that Cain also had to field.
This time Cain rushed his throw and gave Belt a bad feed. The ball kicked away from the Giants first baseman, allowing Gonzalez to score from third.
Cain said of the throwing error, “I thought I had to rush it too much and I really actually should’ve just stopped and planted my feet and thrown the ball better to him. He [Belt] just had no chance at seeing where the ball was coming from and I think he got blocked out.”
The Giants would take the lead back in the fifth after Pablo Sandoval led off the inning with a double. Posey followed with a single up the middle, plating Sandoval with the game's deciding run.
Posey was 3-for-4 with two RBI, his 23rd multi-hit game of the season and his 13th game with multiple RBI. Posey was 5-for-10 in the three-game series with Houston and had four RBI.
After the game, Posey talked about the groove he’s in and his confidence level at the plate. “I feel good, I’m just trying to keep a good approach and have a plan every time I go up there.”
The game got pretty interesting in the seventh after Cain worked himself into a jam by walking Brian Bogusevic and then allowing a single to Gonzalez. With only one out and runners at first and third, Bochy pulled Cain and brought in Jeremy Affeldt to deal with the mess.
With just two pitches, both 90-plus mph fastballs, Affeldt induced Brian Bixler to pop out to Buster Posey in foul territory, and Justin Maxwell flied out to right field to end the inning.
After blowing the save last night, Santiago Casilla was brought in with one out in the ninth to shut the door. Despite a noticeable grumbling from the sold-out crowd when Bochy called him in, Casilla was able to retire the final two batters to earn his 23rd save.
Sunday's win over Houston marked the third time the Giants have swept an opponent this year, all at home.
After the brief homestand, the Giants are headed back on the road to face the heat. After a dismal performance on their last trip back East, going 1-5 against The Nationals and The Pirates, the Giants head to Atlanta and Philadelphia for a pair of three-game series.
Bruce Bochy talked after the game about the importance of playing well this past weekend as they head back to the East Coast.
“I thought it was important that we came out of the shoot playing well. Coming off a tough road trip……we needed to get back on track. Now, we’re headed to Atlanta, the club is playing well right now, it’s a club that’s right there and has good pitching and offense. We know we have our work cut out for us, but it’s nice to get a sweep and get some momentum.”
Bochy continued later, “It wasn’t too long ago that we were on the East Coast, so it should be a little bit easier, but still, we’re going to have to turn it up a notch with the offense if we’re going to get this done.”
The Giants open the series in Atlanta on Tuesday evening with Barry Zito (7-6) on the hill vs. Jair Jurrjens (3-2). Game time is 4:10pm PSD.
(Unless otherwise noted all quotes were obtained first-hand.)