The San Francisco Giants continue to win close games, but Sunday, they were on the other side of the score. After coming back on Friday and Saturday, the Giants held a lead for the outset. So, they didn’t need any late-inning antics.
Hunter Pence drove in all four of the Giants’ runs, and Matt Cain pitched 7.1 innings of one-run ball to lead the Giants to a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-3.
Cain, who entered the game with a glaring 6.49 ERA, bounced back in a big way on a national stage. He struck out four and issued three walks while yielding only five hits. Cain was tested with runners in scoring position, but Cain and the rest of the Giants’ bullpen held Los Angeles to a 0-for-9 mark in those situations.
Cain departed with one out in the eighth inning, and his chances of collecting win No. 1 of the 2013 campaign looked in jeopardy thanks to the Giants bullpen.
After Cain walked Matt Kemp to lead off the inning, lefty-specialist Javier Lopez struck out Andre Ethier. George Kontos replaced Lopez and surrendered a single to A.J. Ellis and a walk to Juan Uribe to load the bases. Manager Bruce Bochy called on Jeremy Affeldt to induce a double-play ball, but Adrain Gonzalez, who didn’t start a game during the three-game set, pinch hit for Luis Cruz, only needed one pitch to make the score 4-2 on a ground ball back up the middle.
Dee Gordon followed Gonzalez with a slow-moving infield chopper, and Gordon’s tremendous speed enabled the Dodgers to score another run on the infield single. Jean Machi entered to face Jerry Hairston Jr. Despite working the count full with runners on first and second, Machi got Hairston to eventually ground out.
The Giants got on the board first thanks to three consecutive singles from Andres Torres Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval in the first inning. Buster Posey softly rolled a ground ball to third base, which didn’t get a run in. But Pence followed with a ground ball that did plate San Francisco’s first run of the evening.
In the third inning, Pence smacked a line drive down the left field line to score Scutaro, notching the score to 3-0. Then in the fifth, Pence lined a double off the brick wall in right field which scored two runs. Right-fielder Andre Ethier attempted to catch the carom off the wall bare-handed, but the ball zipped past his left hand, allowing Posey to score from first base.