Page last updated on Fri Dec 13 15:25:53 EST 2013
06/13/2013 11:48 PM EDT
Giants spoil Morton's return, pound Pirates 10-0
SAN FRANCISCO 10, PITTSBURGH 0
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Matt Cain's mind drifted. He couldn't help it.
A year to the day after throwing the 22nd perfect game in
baseball history, the San Francisco Giants ace didn't give up a
hit through four innings on Thursday night against the
"I tried not to think about it but there was enough talk about
it that I couldn't really tune out," Cain said.
A single by Pittsburgh's Garrett Jones leading off the bottom of
the fifth rendered any discussion of Cain making history again
moot, one of the few things that didn't go right for the Giants
in a 10-0 romp.
Cain (5-3) struck out three and walked two over 6 2-3 innings.
"He had good command of all his pitches," San Francisco manager
Bruce Bochy said. "He's in a good place right now with his
delivery and command. I like where he's at."
Hunter Pence hit his 11th homer of the season, while Buster
Posey, Gregor Blanco and Joaquin Arias had three hits apiece for
San Francisco, which avoided a sweep by sending the Pirates to
their worst loss of the year.
Not bad for a team missing injured stars Pablo Sandoval, Marco
Scutaro and Angel Pagan, all of whom are on the disabled list.
"It's a great sign," Bochy said. "We're missing three big bats.
You hope guys pick it up and they have the last couple of games.
Blanco had a big game. Really, a lot of guys had big games."
Even if it wasn't required on a night Cain seemed to move past
the inconsistent play that's dogged him over the first two
months of the season.
The three-time All-Star has run hot and cold this season,
getting off to a horrific start in April before going 4-0 in
May. The Giants lost both of his starts this month, scoring all
of one run in the process.
Given a healthy dose of support, Cain didn't let it go to waste.
"I am throwing the ball a whole lot better," he said. "I'm
trying to eliminate that big inning. I had done a good job of
that for some years now but I've kind of had trouble with it
this year. It's a matter of putting it in the past and getting
San Francisco's outburst spoiled the return of Pittsburgh
starter Charlie Morton (0-1), who was celebrating an anniversary
of his own. The righthander underwent Tommy John surgery on his
right elbow on June 14, 2012. Just short of a year later, he
surrendered four runs on seven hits, striking out five and
walking one. The right-hander also hit three batters while
making his first major league start in 381 days.
"I wish it had gone better but I think I can take quite a few
positives," Morton said.
The Giants didn't knock Morton around so much as chip away. San
Francisco touched Morton for a run in each of the first two
innings then added two more in the fifth before breaking things
open with five runs in the sixth against reliever Mike Zagurski.
The romp was a welcome change for the defending World Series
champions, who have struggled on the road. San Francisco came in
just 4-12 in its last 16 games away from AT&T Park but had
little trouble with Cain returning to form.
Cain tossed a one-hitter against the Pirates last season, the
lone mistake being a fastball in the sixth inning that McDonald
turned into a single. Two months later he retired all 27 batters
he faced against the overmatched Astros.
He didn't overwhelm Pittsburgh this time, instead letting his
defense do most of the work. Cain wasted little time between
pitches and the Pirates could never seem to get comfortable.
"We saw the good Matt Cain tonight," Pirates manager Clint
San Francisco certainly looked at ease, pushing the lead to 4-0
during a weird fifth inning. Zagurski hit Brandon Crawford with
one out and Posey smacked a ground-rule double to the gap in
left-center. Crawford would have easily scored if the ball
hadn't hopped over the fence.
Things evened out when Pence hit a dribbler that turned into a
rundown between third and home. Crawford smacked into Pittsburgh
third baseman Pedro Alvarez during the chase, with home plate
umpire Tim McClellan awarding Crawford home plate after ruling
Alvarez impeded Crawford's path.
Andres Torres hit a sacrifice fly, but a potentially big inning
came undone when a liner by Arias went right at Pence standing
off second base. The San Francisco outfielder dove forward to
avoid the ball only to have it deflect off his helmet.
Pence earned a bit of revenge the next inning when he smoked a
3-run homer off Zagurski and the rout was on.
NOTES: Scutaro is still in considerable pain after the pinky
finger in his left hand was drilled by a pitch on Tuesday. Bochy
said there is considerable swelling and isn't sure when Scutaro
will play again ... The Giants begin a three-game series in
Atlanta on Friday. Madison Bumgarner (5-4, 3.58) faces Atlanta's
Kris Medlen (3-6, 2.87) ... San Francisco's Nick Noonan appeared
to have his first major league home run in the ninth inning when
he hit a ball to right-center. The call was overturned when
replay showed the ball hit the top of the fence but did not go
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