View Count: 76 |  Publish Date: June 14, 2013
Cain brightens Giants' pitching outlook

Pittsburgh --
If Matt Cain is not scheduled to pitch next June 13, he might grab manager Bruce Bochy by the ears and demand the ball.
A year to the night after his perfect game, Cain took a no-hitter into the fifth inning Thursday and allowed two hits over 6 2/3 in a 10-0 victory against the Pirates, the same score of his perfecto against the Astros.
When the fourth inning ended with Pittsburgh hitless, fans and some Giants were thinking no-hitter.
I did, manager Bruce Bochy said. Guys were discussing what today was. It did cross my mind. He had great stuff. Its a game we certainly needed.
Indeed it was, after the Pirates scored 20 runs in winning the first two games at PNC Park. Cain insisted he thought more about setting a proper tone for the rotation than throwing a no-hitter.
He has to feel good about his progress. If he magically could remove that seven-run inning in St. Louis on June 1, Cains ERA over his past eight starts would be 2.39. He has allowed six hits and one run over 13 2/3 innings on this 3-3 trip, which ends with three games in Atlanta.
I feel Im throwing the ball a lot better, he said. Im just trying to eliminate the big inning. I felt Ive done a good job of that in some of these years. Ive gotten into a bad habit of giving up a big inning. Now its a matter of putting that in the past and getting guys out.
For the rotation as a whole, Cain said, We havent thrown the way weve wanted to this year. We have to take pride in starting to turn that around. Weve had glimpses of that at times. We just have to get back into the habit of having more good ones than bad ones.
Words alone cannot make Barry Zito better on the road, or Tim Lincecum win consistently. That is out of Cains hands. But once every fifth day he can give the Giants an ace-like lift.
He certainly did against the Pirates, even after losing his no-hitter on Garrett Jones clean single to right to start the fifth. (Jones already had walked.)
The Giants saw another good sign Thursday when an offense missing three key hitters scored 10 runs a night after scoring eight.
A lot of odd stuff happened, too.
-- Charlie Morton, in his first game back from Tommy John surgery, hit Brandon Crawford twice and Brandon Belt once. Crawford also was awarded a run on an obstruction call during a rundown between third and home when he ran into Pedro Alvarez.
-- Joaquin Arias lined a ball that hit baserunner Hunter Pence in the helmet on its way into center field. Arias got credit for a single, but Pence was called out.
-- An inning later, Pence hit a three-run homer against left-hander Mike Zagurski, his 11th of the season, burnishing his All-Star credentials.
Pence might not win the fan voting, but he has an important ally in the manager picking the final players for the National League team.
Fortunately, Bochy said, I do have some say.
Gregor Blanco and Buster Posey each had three hits and drove in two runs.
Nick Noonan took center stage in the final oddity. He opened the ninth inning with a drive to right-center that initially was ruled a home run, his first in the majors. But the Pirates won a replay review that got it changed to a double.
Who invented that anyway, said Noonan, who got a heros welcome in the dugout, then got another after he returned to second base and scored on Crawfords sacrifice fly.
Henry Schulman is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @hankschulman

 Cain   good   hit   hitter   inning   Manager Bruce Bochy   ones   Pence   Pirates   ran   score   win 

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 Cain   good   hit   hitter   inning   Manager Bruce Bochy   ones   Pence   Pirates   ran   score   win 
Time: 10:3  |  News Code: 277366  |  Site: San Francisco Chronicle
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