SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- To think Matt Cain only has seven wins despite pitching well enough for about twice that total. He's never been one to be bitter for such fortunes in baseball.
Cain beat the Braves for the first time in three career tries, Randy Winn doubled in a run and had three hits and the San Francisco Giants won 4-2 against Atlanta on Monday night."I've probably had that confidence, then sometimes you just have to find it," Cain said. "A couple good starts in a row can help you get on a roll. ... You don't think about wins and losses. You just tell yourself, 'Keep throwing strikes and keep doing what you're doing.'"Ivan Ochoa and Aaron Rowand each hit RBI singles for San Francisco, which won for the third time in four games and earned just its 21st home victory of 2008. Ochoa's RBI was the first of his major league career.Cain didn't allow a baserunner past second until Casey Kotchman's two-out triple in the sixth, then Kotchman scored the Braves' first run on Omar Infante's RBI single moments later. Kotchman hit his first triple since May 20, 2007, while with the Los Angeles Angels.Cain (7-9) -- who is putting more energy into his conditioning between starts and reaping the benefits late in games -- allowed one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, struck out six and walked five on a chilly and foggy summer night in the Bay Area, with a first-pitch temperature of 61 degrees. He received more than a one-run cushion for the first time since July 6."He's pitched much better than his record," Winn said. "He's got a world of talent."Jack Taschner relieved with the bases loaded and recorded the final out of the seventh, getting Brian McCann to pop up. Tyler Walker recorded two outs in the eighth and Brian Wilson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts for his NL-leading 31st save in 33 opportunities.Cain escaped a second-inning jam after allowing a one-out walk to McCann, the cleanup hitter, before plunking Kotchman in the right wrist, but then got two straight outs to get out of it."This is what Cain's capable of doing," Taschner said. "This is the Matt Cain we've all seen."McCann returned to the lineup after missing a week with a mild concussion."I felt fine. Pitches seemed a little harder," he said. "I hadn't seen live pitching in a week. But I felt good. I came up in a big situation and didn't get the job done. I got a pitch to drive and just missed it."The Braves, who have dropped three straight series, lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Kelly Johnson singled in Atlanta's other run in the eighth after Infante doubled.Jair Jurrjens (10-7) lost for the fourth time in his past six decisions, making his first career appearance against the Giants and in San Francisco's waterfront ballpark.For a change, Braves manager Bobby Cox was thrilled not to be asked how he would pitch to Barry Bonds. The home run king, out of a job this year, is coming up on the 1-year anniversary Thursday of the day he broke Hank Aaron's home run record."Weird," Cox said. "Your stomach doesn't churn when you come to the ballpark -- what are you going to do, walk him? Pitch to him? ... I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that. It's the truth. You'd have to think for the other managers it was the same. He was that dominant. I haven't seen Barry. I haven't read about him."Cain singled in the fourth for his seventh hit this season, one shy of his career best set in 2006. He came around to score his third run of 2008 with a slide into home, matching his most that he also accomplished last year."That was fun. I felt like I was slow as molasses, but I got there in time," Cain said.
On Monday, Cox and the Braves were still dealing with the shocking death of Skip Caray. A voice of the Atlanta Braves for 33 years and part of a family line of baseball broadcasters that included Hall of Famer Harry Caray, he died in his sleep at home on Sunday at age 68. "He helped me along a lot," Cox said. "He was a good friend of everybody." The Giants held a moment of silence before the game and showed Caray's picture on the main scoreboard. ... Giants RHP reliever Keiichi Yabu, sidelined with a strained middle finger on his pitching hand, threw a bullpen session and came out of it fine. He could be activated from the DL as soon as Tuesday. "Much better," Yabu said. ... Giants C Bengie Molina had the night off. ... Cain had not surrendered a walk in his previous two outings. He has an 8-4 lifetime record in 14 August starts. The wins are his most in any month. Cain lowered his ERA for the third straight start, from 3.70 to 3.60.