The National League’s top pitcher since mid-August doesn’t wear an Astros uniform or a Cardinals uniform. Don’t bother looking on the East Coast because he’s not there.
San Francisco’s Matt Cain won his third consecutive start and fourth straight decision Friday evening by tossing seven innings of one-hit ball extending his streak to 21 2/3 innings without an earned run as he and three relievers combined on a two-hitter in a 4-0 victory over NL West rivals San Diego in the first of a three-game series Friday night at AT&T Park.
San Francisco (71-70) snapped San Diego’s five-game winning streak and moved to within 2 ½ games of the NL wild card-leading Padres (73-67). Philadelphia moved within 1 ½ games of the Padres in the wild card race with a 3-2 victory over Florida.
Cain (12-9) posted his fourth straight seven-plus inning start and improved to 3-0 with a 1.63 ERA on the season against the Padres, who have lost five straight and 10 of their last 11 to the Giants this season. Cain’s ERA since August 17th is a major-league leading 0.26 allowing one earned run in his last five starts during that span.
Against the Padres, Cain, who walked three, allowed his only hit in the sixth inning as Brian Giles smacked a one-out single to right. Despite the hit, Cain, who has posted a quality start in his seven of his last eight starts, kept the Padres hitters at bay thanks a sharp fastball that was clocked in the low to mid 90s throughout the game. Cain retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced ending with Geoff Blum’s groundout in the seventh, his 119th pitch.
San Francisco’s first three runs were set up thanks to Giants batters moving runners over via groundball outs. In the bottom of the first, Randy Winn snapped a 0 for 13 drought with a leadoff single. Winn stole second, moved to third on Omar Vizquel’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Shea Hillenbrand’s groundout to second for a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, Durham led off with a double, moved to third on Moises Alou’s groundout to short and scored on Pedro Feliz’ single for a 2-0 Giants lead. Feliz scored the Giants’ lone run in the seventh for a 3-0 edge. He led off with a double, moved to third on Eliezer Alfonzo’s groundout to second and scored on Vizquel’s two-out single.
Alou added the long ball element with a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth for a 4-0 Giants lead. Kevin Correia, Steve Kline and Mike Stanton combined to pitch the final two innings of one-hit ball.
San Francisco’s victory pushed them over .500 for the first time since July 26.
San Diego Jake Peavy, who pitched with an injured toe on this left foot, continued his frustrating season falling to 8-14. Peavy, who has lost his last three starts against the Giants after winning his first two this season, allowed seven hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings of work. In his last start, Peavy struck out 14 in a complete-game win over Cincinnati on Sunday.