Thursday, April 19, 2012

Giants produce the one run they need to beat Phillies 1-0 after pitcher's duel with Lee, Cain

Matt-Cain Cliff Lee's curveball still broke perfectly in the 10th inning. Matt Cain's fastball stayed nasty through nine.

Even Cain could reflect on a memorable night in which the aces combined to throw 19 scoreless innings, bringing back memories of those great old righty-lefty showdowns of Juan Marichal and Sandy Koufax.

"That was really fun to be a part of," Cain said.

Melky Cabrera hit an RBI single in the 11th inning and the San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0 on Wednesday night, ending a thrilling pitchers' duel that seemed as if it might go on all night.

Lee tossed 10 scoreless innings for the Phillies and Cain went nine for the Giants - and each has only a no-decision to show for it.

Cabrera came through against Antonio Bastardo (0-1), who allowed Brandon Belt's one-out single up the middle. Belt then advanced when third baseman Ty Wigginton couldn't control Angel Pagan's grounder.

The sellout crowd of 41,860 got treated to a game that lasted just 2 hours, 27 minutes. And it left Lee still searching for his first win of the season after three starts.

"It was a classic pitchers' duel. It's the first time I ever threw 10 innings. It was neat," Lee said. "I'd rather give up two runs and get the win though. Any time you lose it's disappointing. I had a good changeup and I was throwing my curveballs for strikes. I don't usually do both in the same game. When things are going well I try to work fast. I try to keep a good pace. Everybody likes that. I was told I was done after nine, but I said I could easily pitch another inning. I tried it again after 10 but it didn't happen."

The Giants won a third straight series after being swept in three one-run losses to open the year at defending division champion Arizona, while the Phillies dropped their third series in four.

Lee pitched a career-high 10 innings, becoming the first Phillies starter to go beyond nine innings since Terry Mulholland on May 8, 1993, against St. Louis. Lee allowed seven hits, struck out seven, didn't walk a batter and threw 81 of his 102 pitches for strikes.

And Lee didn't throw his 100th pitch until strike one to Nate Schierholtz with two outs in the 10th.

"I haven't seen two pitchers pitch that well. What a matchup," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Terrific game by two guys that hooked horns and neither one was giving in."

This one marked the second great matchup of aces in three games after Roy Halladay outpitched Tim Lincecum in Philadelphia's 5-2 win Monday night.

Both pitchers worked quickly, each allowing only two base runners to reach second in their combined 19 innings.

"Just nonstop back and forth," Cain said. "Both of us tried to throw a lot of strikes and get guys out. We were both pounding the strike zone. We were through nine before two hours. It's not very often. That's pretty crazy."

Carlos Ruiz led off the top of the 11th with a double against Sergio Romo for the Phillies' first extra-base hit of the game and just the second all game on a night nine innings were - remarkably - in the books after just 1:50.

Ruiz moved to third on a sacrifice by Freddy Galvis, then pinch-hitter Jim Thome batted for Lee and struck out swinging against Javier Lopez.

John Mayberry Jr. entered to pinch-hit and Bochy brought in winner Clay Hensley (1-0) as well as Belt to play first in a double-switch. Mayberry grounded out to end the inning.

Pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez reached on Laynce Nix's fielding error in the bottom of the ninth, but Lee induced the third of four double plays he got against the Giants.

Cain dazzled for the second straight start, tossing nine scoreless innings in back-to-back outings for the first time in his career.

Coming off a one-hitter in a 5-0 victory over the Pirates in last Friday's home opener in which the only baserunner he allowed was a single to pitcher James McDonald, Cain was nearly as good this time out.

"Awesome," Lopez said. "That was great. Two starters like that, I haven't seen that in a long time."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel mixed things up again, running out his 10th different lineup in the initial 12 games - but Cain held everybody in check.

Cain, who signed a new $127.5 million, six-year contract April 2, issued a one-out walk to Ruiz in the fifth before the right-hander retired the final 13 batters he faced in order before giving way to new closer Santiago Casilla. Cain gave up two hits, struck out four and walked one.

Cain went three up, three down in the first on 15 pitches and was through four on 41 pitches, allowing only Galvis' one-out single in the third.

The game was through eight innings in all of 1:35.

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford made another highlight-reel worthy defensive stop with a backhanded catch in foul territory while falling on top of third baseman Pablo Sandoval near the bullpen plates.

The Giants produced back-to-back singles off Lee to start the game but he retired Pablo Sandoval on a flyout and got cleanup hitter Buster Posey to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Lee came in 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA - three earned runs in 33 innings - and a .175 batting average against in four previous regular-season starts against San Francisco. But the Giants beat the lefty in Game 5 of the 2010 World Series at Texas to clinch the franchise's long-awaited first championship since moving West from New York in 1958.

Sandoval singled with one out in the fourth to extend his hitting streak to 12 games to start the season.

Brett Pill hit a leadoff double in the fifth but Lee then got three straight outs on groundballs to shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

Philadelphia's Shane Victorino didn't reach base safely via hit or walk for the first time in 12 games so far.

Notes: Aaron Harang was the last pitcher to go 10 innings, July 23, 2007, with the Reds. Halladay also did it in April that year. ... Cain came in 1-4 with a 4.17 ERA in his previous seven starts vs. Philly. ... The Phillies, who play a four-game series in San Diego starting Thursday, went 23-9 against the NL West last year. ... The Phillies had been 4-2 in their previous six games at AT&T Park, outscoring the Giants 22-12 during that stretch. Philadelphia won three of four here last season for just their fourth series victory in the waterfront ballpark since it opened in 2000.

Associated Press

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