Matt Cain (16-5) not only teamed up with Buster Posey to pitch his way to his career high 16th win on Wednesday night, he helped his battery mate at the plate as well as the Giants beat the Diamondbacks 6-0 to win their 90th game of the year.
Cain allowed only four hits while tossing seven shutout innings, striking out six and walking only one. That type of dominance should’ve made for a fairly uneventful night for the Diamondbacks on the base paths, but that wasn’t the case.
Making his 31st start of the year, Cain was put behind the eight ball a good portion of the night by defensive lapses behind him.
Not only did the Giants defense make errors in the first, third, and fifth innings, two of them by Brandon Crawford at shortstop, but all three were made on the first batter of the inning forcing Cain immediately into the stretch.
All three times Cain was able to pitch out of it, picking up his teammates while preserving the lead.
After the game Bruce Bochy talked about Cain’s ability to pitch through errors and not let it compound or get to him.
“He does a great job with that. He’s had to deal with a lot since he’s been up here, tough losses, and never says a word, when there’s an error he doesn’t get distracted. In fact if anything he tries to pick them up.”
Bochy also commented on how dialed in Cain is as the Giants approach the postseason.
“He’s throwing the ball great. Tonight he really had command of all of his pitches and pitched very efficiently.”
As outstanding as Cain was on the mound, his night at the plate was equally impressive. Cain went 2-2, scored the first run of the game in the third, and drove in a run with a clutch two out single in the fifth.
With the seven shutout innings and the great night at the plate, Cain’s new career high in strikeouts seemingly went unnoticed. His previous career high was 186 strikeouts (2008), but with his six strikeouts, he now has 191 on the season and has a shot at 200 when he faces the Dodgers in his next start.
While Cain was setting new career highs in wins and strikeouts, Posey was busy reaching a major milestone of his own. With an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning, Posey recorded his 100th RBI of the season and the first Giant to do it since Barry Bonds in 2004 (101).
Bochy was asked if he thought at the beginning of the year that Posey could reach this mark coming off of the horrible ankle injury from last year.
“I did to be honest, that’s how good I think he is.” Bochy continued, “He’s a special talent and I’m not surprised at what he’s done and I was happy for him to get number 100, that’s quite a milestone, especially for a catcher.”
Cain also spoke highly of his catcher after the game when asked about Posey’s value to the team.
“I think his numbers show that but I think what guys and fans don’t get to see is what he does in the clubhouse, the way he prepares for games, the way he talks to guys. He’s really been an unspoken leader and he’s been that way, kind of since day one.”
While Cain and Posey were the stars of the night, the Giants had other key contributions as they knocked out 12 hits, including multi-hit performances from Brandon Belt, Marco Scutaro, and Pablo Sandoval.
With the win the Giants are now 7-2 on this 10-game homestand. They send Barry Zito (13-8) to the mound tomorrow afternoon to face Patrick Corbin (6-7) in the final regular season home game for the Giants this year.
(Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained first-hand.)