March 5, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain (18) pitches the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Scottsdale Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Cain pitched three scoreless innings, Pablo Sandoval knocked in two runs, and the San Francisco Giants went on to defeat the Los Angeles Angels, 3-2 today, at Scottsdale Stadium under warm, cloudy skies. Additionally, Michael Morse contributed in a style, to which we would like to become accustomed, by doubling home Hunter Pence in the fifth.
The Angels started Jered Weaver, who went four innings, giving up two runs on four hits, with a pair of walks and a pair of strikeouts. In the second consecutive victory to end in a 3-2 score, the Giants pieced together fine pitching, timely offense and a good showing by key starters, as well as backups, to go above .500 for the first time in the Cactus League play thus far, with a record of 4-3.
The Giants had a total of nine base hits, two apiece for Pablo and Mark Minicozzi, while Giants pitchers allowed six hits, as Matt Cain, Javier Lopez and Jose De Paula combined to face only two batters over the minimum during the first six innings. Altogether, Giants pitchers struck out seven while walking two with two double plays in support of them. Gregor Blanco (.200 this spring), slated to be the go-to back-up as the fourth outfielder, had a hit and knocked in two, while Minicozzi (.556 for the spring) helped his cause by maintaining his torrid hitting with two singles.
Albert Pujols, trying to come back after season-ending surgery last August, had a single and a walk in three plate appearances. Though the Angels had only six hits, two were doubles and one was a triple off Jason Berken, who replaced De Paula at the start of the seventh. Berken was responsible for both Angels runs while Heath Hembree got the save by facing the minimum in the ninth.
The game was played in an efficient two hours and thirty-nine minutes, Giants starters have now all successively begun their Cactus League games with zeroes, and Giants back-up positions are beginning to take better form with just over three weeks still to go. One could not ask for, nor expect, that Giants pitching would be so efficient, but one would not be surprised either. Business as usual is the name of the game. Next up tomorrow are the Cincinnati Reds, with the game beginning at 12:05 pm.