CHICAGO -- Doug Davis appears to have found new life with the Cubs.
On a cold and miserable night, the Giants took advantage of back-to-back errors to beat the Cubs, 3-0, in a rain-shortened game and spoil Davis' return to the Majors. Play was halted two pitches into the seventh inning, and the game was called 40 minutes later.
"That's the worst I've seen and played in at this level for sure," Cubs manager Mike Quade said of the conditions. "When you consider the wind, the rain, the temperature and the fact we played in it from start to finish, it was rough."
Davis, 35, who signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs in April, was making his first start since last July 9 and gave up three runs -- one earned -- on four hits over five innings.
"He was exactly the guy I remember," Quade said.
The Cubs have been in search of a fifth starter since Andrew Cashner went on the disabled list April 6 with a strained right rotator cuff, the same day No. 4 starter Randy Wells went down with a strained right forearm. Casey Coleman has filled in for Wells but James Russell has gone 0-4 with a 10.05 ERA in four starts for Cashner. Davis, who made eight starts last year with the Brewers, but none after early July because of tendinitis in his left elbow, may be the temporary fix.
"It's great to get back out there and compete, that's for sure," Davis said. "Being a lefty, they say you have nine lives. I feel like I'm at about five or six right now. I just feel lucky I have the opportunity to go out there and prove my worth."
He was diagnosed in 2008 with thyroid cancer, and one year ago in May, he discovered he had pericarditis, an inflammation of the lining around the heart. Then, his elbow flared up. It was a tough assignment to face the defending World Series champs in his first start back, and the weather conditions didn't make it any easier.
Game-time temperature was 43 degrees, and the 19 mph northerly wind made it feel more like 38, creating uncomfortable conditions for the fans huddled in the stands. The rain helped vendors selling ponchos. Hot chocolate sales were brisk.
"It was tough to stand there and look at the pitcher and focus on the ball," Cubs catcher Koyie Hill said. "If it was sleet or snow or even real rain, it would've been better. With the mist, it would get on your eyelashes and things like that and a lot of the hitters were having a hard time. From a pitching standpoint, it probably helped us out."
You can't hit what you can't see, and the rain was blowing in from left field, right into the batters' faces. Hill said the Giants hitters were complaining that they couldn't track the ball and lost it halfway from the pitcher to the plate.
"You can deal with the mist and the cold, but when you mix in the wind, it makes for an adventure," San Francisco's Mark DeRosa said. "All in all, a miserable experience. But a great day."
Freddy Sanchez doubled with one out in the Giants' first and scored one out later on Buster Posey's single. Chicago loaded the bases with one out in the first against Ryan Vogelsong (3-0), but he got Marlon Byrd to line out to short and struck out Alfonso Soriano, who had to step out during his at-bat to wipe the rain off his face.
The Giants loaded the bases with two outs in the third and Cody Ross hit a chopper that Hill fielded, but he overthrew first for an error, allowing a run to score. Pat Burrell then hit a grounder to third baseman Blake DeWitt, whose throw pulled first baseman Carlos Pena off the bag for another error, allowing another run to score for a 3-0 lead.
Hill wouldn't use the weather as an excuse for the error, but the wet conditions did contribute to the miscues. Barney made the play of the game in the fourth when he lost his footing yet somehow was able to catch Miguel Tejada's popup in foul territory.
"That's the play that I thought he would get hurt on," Quade said. "To make that play was something."
Once the game started, it was the umpires' call as to whether to continue.
"I'd go out there and play right now," Quade said. "I wasn't interested in stopping. We played in [the rain] for six innings. Let's play seven. Until I see Lake Mead at shortstop, I'm ready to go."
The Cubs were playing a rare Saturday night home game, the first regularly scheduled one since June 20, 1998. The neighborhood around Wrigley Field has opposed Friday and Saturday night games since the ballpark got lights in 1988 because of traffic congestion.
Davis didn't care. Rain, sleet, snow, whatever. He's back in the big leagues.
"I had one goal when I started in the big leagues and that was to get 10 years in," Davis said. "I was 44 days short after last year. I don't know if I would've had the 10 years if I would've hung it up or not -- I probably wouldn't have. I probably would've still tried to come back.
"I worked real hard this offseason and I was able to get my arm strength back and just playing catch from the first time out, my arm felt great," he said. "I really missed the competition and I missed the camaraderie of the team and being on a team. That's something you miss right away, being out for so long."
Hill met the left-hander Friday and they came up with a simple game plan.
"He's been around a long time and knows what he's doing," Hill said. "My job is to steer him in the right direction and not get in his way. My goal was to let him do his thing. There's a reason why he's been around for so long."
Davis' next start will be against the Marlins in Florida. He probably won't need an extra layer of clothing then.
"It'll be raining," Davis said, "but I won't be freezing."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.