Matt Cain finally got his first win of the season, Michael Morse drove in three runs, the first two on his club-leading tenth home run, and the San Francisco Giants went on to net a series-opening victory over the Miami Marlins, 6-4. Hunter Pence followed up his four-hit performance in the series finale against the Atlanta Braves, by getting three more hits tonight.
Down 4-1 in the third inning, Michael Morse did what a team’s home run leader should do, and drilled one over the wall for a two-run homer, to draw the Giants back to within one run. Matt Cain, who allowed a third-inning run just after the Giants had scored in the bottom of the second, pitched a shut-down inning on ten pitches after Morse’s blast. The Marlins would not score again.
Garrett Jones hit his third career home run off of Matt Cain in the second inning, to extend the Marlins’ lead to 3-0, and the Marlins looked as though their recent mastery over the Giants would continue. The Marlins took three out of four from the Giants last year in San Francisco, and had taken ten of the last eleven at AT&T Park! Considering the Miami Marlins have not lost a series in San Francisco since 2009, things were looking bleak.
But Nate Eovaldi was not on tonight. San Francisco batted through the order in the fifth, in scoring three runs and leaving the bags loaded. Leading off, Angel Pagan drew a ten-pitch walk ; he just seems to do what needs to be done. Hunter Pence followed with a single and Buster Posey doubled them both home, giving the Giants and Matt Cain, their first lead of the game, 5-4. Mr. Clutch.
Michael Morse then got his third RBI of the game with a bloop single to center field and the hot-hitting Tyler Colvin hit his second double of the game to put runners at second and third. Brandon Crawford hit a scorcher down the first base that Jones speared and took to the bag for the unassisted out, and after Brandon Hicks was walked intentionally to load the bases, Matt Cain looked at a called third strike.
One of the stranger plays of the season took place in the fifth inning, when Pence hit a high chopper directly down the first base line, and he was running so fast that as the ball came down, it came into contact his foot, skittering off foul. It was called foul by the home plate umpire and Pence came back to the plate, subsequently singling.
Because the ball was called foul by the home plate umpire, it was not a reviewable play. All four umps even gathered around for a conference, but none of the other three had a better angle than the home ump, so the call stood. The camera showed viewers at home that Pence was clearly out by being hit by a batted ball, and yet the Giants caught a break. That’s baseball.
Angel Pagan got on base three times leading off an inning, stole a base, and scored a run. Tyler Colvin continued his storybook start with the Giants; coming into the game he was 4 for 9 and added two doubles in four appearances. That’s 6 for 13 in his brief stint, or a .462 clip. Matt Cain’s last victory, ironically, was against the Marlins last August, in Miami.
Pablo Sandoval (hitting just over the two-century mark at .203-finally) came into the game, 5-5 lifetime against Nate Eovaldi and promptly hit a first-inning single.
Giancarlo Stanton is the Marlins’ HR leader, RBI leader, and had a 16-game hitting streak coming into tonight’s game. Though he extended it with a fifth inning single, the Giants managed to keep him in the yard.
In his last thirteen games, Hunter Pence has hit .340 against the Marlins, with six home runs and 18 RBI’s. His third-inning double was hit right down the first base line against a defense that was shifted over to defend Triples Alley. Stanton did a good job to get to the ball in the corner and fire it back in to keep Pence to a double.
Pence going into the game, was 3 for 7 with two doubles and a home run off Eovaldi. After he had four hits in last night’s game, it’s hard to attribute his three hits tonight to anything other than he is red hot. That’s how Hunter Pence does; he gets hot and he takes the team with him.
Cain demonstrated that he was still dealing with a ten-pitch seventh inning, striking out two and getting Stanton on a high fly ball to shallow center field. And though he got the first two Marlins leading off the 8th, Reed Johnson doubled for the second time in the game, and Jeremy Affeldt came in for the thirteenth time this season, to face Garrett Jones, who had homered earlier in the game. This time the Giants won, as Jones took a called third strike.
With the Giants’ recent futility against Miami, this game was crucial. Michael Morse came through for the offense, and Matt Cain took care of business, once his team got him some runs. The Giants have now won 27 games and lost 15. That’s twelve games over .500. I say they make it a baker’s dozen tomorrow night, and stop this business of the Fish taking series at AT&T Park.