CHICAGO -- Enduring conditions that only a meteorologist could love, the Giants benefited from Ryan Vogelsong's first career shutout and the Chicago Cubs' porous defense in a rain-shortened 3-0 victory Saturday night.Showers blew sideways all night through Wrigley Field, where the game-time temperature was 43 degrees. The umpiring crew finally halted play in the top of the seventh inning after leadoff batter Aaron Rowand took Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija to a 2-0 count. The game was called after a 40-minute wait. Vogelsong (3-0) proved to be steadier than the downpour during his six resolute innings. Asked if this was how he envisioned his first Major League shutout and complete game would unfold, he replied, "No, but I'll take it, that's for sure." The resurgent right-hander continued his ascent from a stint in Japan and banishment to Triple-A by stranding eight runners, including five in scoring position. Vogelsong, who yielded one hit in 6 1/3 shutout innings last Sunday against Colorado, permitted five hits this time but coaxed a pair of double-play grounders that enabled him to escape jams in the third and fourth innings. He also threw 70 strikes in 102 pitches, preventing his defense from spending uncomfortably long innings in the pneumonia-inducing weather. "Under those conditions, that's what you want -- a guy who's going to pound the strike zone," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. Vogelsong also accumulated seven strikeouts, including two in clutch situations. He left the bases loaded in the first inning by coaxing Marlon Byrd's bloop to shortstop and fanning Alfonso Soriano with a 3-2 fastball. With two on and two outs in the fifth, Vogelsong prevailed by striking out Carlos Pena on a curveball. "It wasn't a great curveball," said Vogelsong, noting that the rain forced him to struggle to grip that delivery properly. "But it did enough." One might say that Vogelsong weathered the environment admirably. Not only did he eschew wearing a long-sleeved undershirt, but he also declined to don a warmup jacket between innings or when he reached base in the third inning. "Once I adjusted to the weather, I didn't want to put it on and get warm and then take it off and be cold," Vogelsong replied when asked why he junked his jacket. "I've done that before. I don't like the temperature change." Everybody else disliked the temperature, as well as all that accompanied it. "That's probably the worst I've ever played in in my career," said Giants third baseman Mark DeRosa, an 11-year veteran who noted that he wore three layers of clothing underneath his jersey. The rain, he added, "was right on the cusp of being hard enough for [the umpires] to call it earlier, but light enough for us to continue to play. You can deal with the mist and the cold, but when you mix in the wind, it makes for an adventure." Said Giants shortstop Miguel Tejada, who appeared in his 2,063rd regular-season game, "I never played in weather like that before." "Worst I've seen and played in at this level, for sure," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "When you consider the wind, the rain, the temperature and the fact we played in it from start to finish, it was rough." Bochy joked, "It was pretty competitive down on the other end of the dugout for the heater." One Giant unfazed by the surroundings was Tim Lincecum, who pitched in wet, chilly circumstances as a native of Washington state.
"That was like every week," he said nonchalantly.The Giants jumped ahead in the first inning against Cubs left-hander Doug Davis (0-1), who was making his first Major League start since last July 9. Freddy Sanchez doubled and scored on Buster Posey's two-out single. It was a welcome development for Posey, who began the game batting .188 (6-for-32) against lefties. Chicago handed a pair of unearned third-inning runs to the Giants, who appeared destined to squander an excellent scoring opportunity after Vogelsong singled and Rowand doubled with nobody out. Sanchez grounded out and Aubrey Huff popped up before Posey's walk loaded the bases and prolonged the inning. Back-to-back throwing errors by Cubs catcher Koyie Hill and third baseman Blake DeWitt accounted for the Giants' scoring. Coupled with Colorado's 9-7 loss to San Diego, the Giants' seventh victory in eight games vaulted them back into first place in the National League West. "All in all, a miserable experience," DeRosa said. "But a great day."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.