PHILADELPHIA -- The lengthening row of zeros attesting to the Philadelphia Phillies' futility Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park recalled a different day, another ballpark and the same pitcher.Matt Cain drew directly from his success against the Phillies in last October's National League Championship Series to deliver a similar performance as the Giants secured a 2-1 victory. In Cain's last outing against Philadelphia, he surrendered two hits in seven shutout innings in Game 3 of the NLCS at AT&T Park. That helped the Giants triumph, 3-0, giving them a lead in the series that they wouldn't relinquish. This time, Cain blanked Philadelphia for six innings, yielded an unearned run in the seventh inning and was relieved by Javier Lopez after pinch-hitter Ross Gload opened the eighth by reaching base on catcher's interference. As it turned out, Cain reread a chapter from his own library of excellence. He explained that he watched Game 3 videos to review how he gained and maintained an advantage against the Phillies' dangerous lineup. "I definitely think [it helped], being able to look back at that game, try to remember some of the pitches and with the video, to try to help go into the game with some confidence," Cain said. Characteristically, Cain's confidence never wavered. Nor did his effectiveness. Only three Phillies reached scoring position against him. Though he recorded only one strikeout, he relied on his fastball to make the Phillies hit ineffectual grounders and mostly harmless flies. Cain (9-6) notched 12 outs on ground balls and eight on fly balls. Cain lost his shutout under frustrating circumstances in the Phillies' half of the seventh. Shane Victorino led off with a popup in front of home plate that catcher Eli Whiteside seemed bound to catch easily. But he didn't hear Cain call for the ball. They both settled under the ball, which went off Cain's glove as he and Whiteside reached for it.
"Miscommunication on both of us," Cain said.
The ball trickled toward the backstop, enabling Victorino to charge to second base. He scored on Domonic Brown's one-out, bad-hop single off first baseman Aubrey Huff's glove. Cain escaped by coaxing Carlos Ruiz's double-play grounder.That's two lousy breaks Cain encountered, neither of which disturbed him. "He's a pro," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He keeps his poise out there. That's one of those things that can rattle you a little bit, but he got back on the hill and pitched great. He had a bad hop that inning and still didn't let the game get away." Cain accepted the ill fortune as part of the job. "That's just how the game goes at times. Little things are going to come here and there," he said. "You're going to make good pitches and guys are going to get hits. There's errors, things like that. You can't worry about that. It's just part of being-the-starter mentality. You're going to pitch hopefully 200 innings each year. There's going to be little things throughout those innings that's going to happen." "Little" also described the output of San Francisco's offense, which is expected to receive a boost when right fielder Carlos Beltran, obtained from the New York Mets, makes his anticipated Giants debut Thursday. For one more night, the Giants derived the maximum from the minimum to improve to 28-13 in one-run decisions. The Giants opened their scoring in the third inning against left-hander Cole Hamels, who began Wednesday tied for the NL lead with 12 wins. Whiteside beat out an infield single and came home on Aaron Rowand's two-out triple. "I thought it was the right pitch to throw to him. I thought I left it up just a little bit," Hamels said of the 1-1 fastball that Rowand guided into the right-field corner. "When you give up that sort of hit, you know it's extra bases. And with two outs, I just knew from the moment Aaron hit it the guy was pretty much going to score. You don't want to give up the first run, especially with Cain pitching just because it could be the one run that matters." In fact, the Giants are 38-18 when they score first. Under those circumstances, Whiteside said, "it seems like we play a little bit better. We relax and it gets us going a little bit." San Francisco added a run in the seventh but squandered a chance for a more fruitful inning. Jeff Keppinger doubled for his first extra-base hit as a Giant. Cody Ross walked and went to third base on Nate Schierholtz's RBI double, a sinking line drive that scooted under Brown's glove in right field. Hamels hit Whiteside to load the bases with nobody out, but Cain popped up and Rowand grounded into a double play. Wasting the opportunity for more didn't matter. After Lopez rescued Cain by finishing the eighth unscathed, Brian Wilson earned his 32nd save with a perfect ninth inning. The first batter Wilson retired was Ryan Howard, who happened to take a called third strike from the bearded closer for the final out of the NLCS. This time, Howard flied to left field on a 3-2 pitch. Wilson then coaxed two grounders to second base to seal the Giants' 60th victory. Asked if it was a victory that bore extra meaning under the circumstances, Bochy said, "I would agree with that, playing such a good club and gettting the pitching we got tonight."
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.